Beef Buzz News
Market Research Helps Drive Beef Checkoff Initiatives
Mon, 26 Nov 2012 16:11:26 CST
Rick McCarty Beef Buzzes with Ron Hays.
One of the functions of checkoff-funded market research is to scan the environment and look for issues and trends that can affect the marketing climate for beef. Rick McCarty, vice president of issues analysis and strategy for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, likes to quote Michael Kami, strategic planning expert: "It's important to keep your eyes on the things you can't see." Market research helps to determine the genesis of trends and how those trends are driving consumption and affecting consumer acceptance of beef.
"We analyze how consumers are relating to beef; we analyze what they think is important in a food; and we analyze how well they think beef is performing on those attributes - taste, convenience, nutrition, safety and so forth. Are there changes in consumer's perception of beef that are good that we need to try to reinforce; are there some that are not so good that we need to work on and communicate to consumers more effectively?" McCarty says.
He says market research really helps drive all program areas of the checkoff, from culinary initiatives - do consumers know how to prepare a new product; to chefs - how would they take this new product and prepare it in the restaurant; to issues management - defending the reputation of beef.
"If we protect that environment, everything works better: promotion programs work better, advertising works better. So we play a little offense in helping our promotion people promote our product; and we play some defense to help our issues management people protect the marketing environment for our product."
A monthly snapshot of trends and issues is developed to help state beef councils and industry thought leaders keep current on what's going on in the marketing environment for beef. This snapshot also helps a trends advisory panel, made up of a group of industry experts, to set the editorial content of the Beef Issues Quarterly - the industry's issues management journal. Some of the more recent topics in food trends are: snacking is on the rise, burgers are hot, social media is changing food culture and labels at retail are important. McCarty gives us an example of one of the trends that was picked up recently that has implications for beef.
"One of the trends was this desire for consumers to get health and wellness services at their supermarket - that's a huge trend. Supermarket chains have registered dietitians on staff to help their customers choose healthful foods and of course you know beef needs to be in that mix - beef needs to be a player. These RDs who are helping consumers choose healthful foods need to understand the benefits of beef. So that's an example of a trend that we picked up by sort of casting this wide net of issues and trends going on."
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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