It's Been Said That Increased Marbling is Good For All Sectors, Let's Get a Packer's ViewWed, 06 Mar 2019 00:07:09 CST
It's been said that increased marbling is good for all sectors, but what say those who work in the space where supply and demand meet?
Sharply increasing quality grades? It's not a new headline, but it's a good problem to have, says one Kansas packer.
"The grade has improved a lot. I've been with National for twelve years and you know we went from grading probably 45% to almost 85% Choice now. So, it has improved but it hasn't changed our focus. We still look for the high Choice, Prime, quality black-hided kind of cattle," says Chad Barker, Vice President of Procurement, National Beef.
To watch a short video clip featuring Chad Barker, discussing how close we may come to 100% Choice beef - click or tap the PLAYBOX in the window, below.
The more of those they buy, the more quality-minded customers they can serve. National Beef has built its business model around that.
"We've always been a value-added kind of company and those cattle have always worked well for us," claims Barker.
"The quality has improved so quickly, it's hard to imagine, and I think we will see the same kind of improvement over the next four or five years that we've seen in the last five," he said. "But after that we'll be at almost 100% Choice which would be fabulous then we will probably focus on some of the yield grade and soundness and quality kind of cattle that we still look for, that can make the haul and convert well and do good for feedyards and for packers."
The higher grades present opportunities to move Choice customers up to Prime, and retailers to dedicate ad space to the higher quality meat.
"The ranchers and the feedlots have accomplished so much improving the Choice, I feel like Prime is our next big opportunity as an industry. Hopefully, we can balance it with the supply and grow the demand for it as the supply grows. We've went from 1% to averaging maybe 5% Prime on a weekly basis, and at those levels you can start having guys feature it and expect to get it and hopefully build the business to grow along with the cow-calf guys and the feed lots that are producing for us," Barker stated.
Other opportunities lie in the niche programs, like natural. Barker says that business is steady, and they are working to maximize the amount of each natural carcass marketed into that program.
Source: Certified Angus Beef
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