New Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Campaign Celebrates Consumers’ Love for Beef and the People Who Raise It

Twenty-five years after establishing one of the nation’s most iconic food brands, America’s beef farmers and ranchers are leveraging the strong equity of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. to reintroduce the brand to a new generation of consumers. The relaunch will blend the strongest assets from the long-loved brand – such as the famous Aaron Copland “Rodeo” music and the famous tagline – and couple those with new creative assets. In total, the effort showcases the pleasure that beef brings to meals, the people who raise it and the nutritional benefits (such as protein) that beef provides.

“Consumers love beef, and as with all foods, today’s consumers want the whole story about the beef they buy.” said Alisa Harrison, senior vice president, Global Marketing and Research, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff, which funds the campaign. “Our research shows that the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is still extremely popular among consumers, including millennials. So, in honor of its 25th Anniversary, we have refreshed the brand and updated our resources to make beef information available to consumers where they want it, when they want it and how they want it.”

The overall effort was designed with millennial media preferences in mind. The campaign launches Oct. 9 with digital advertising and a new digital platform at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com, a single, comprehensive location that provides an interactive experience on all things beef, from cuts and cookery, to a robust collection of beef recipes to an inside look at the lives of the people who raise beef.

“Beef is one of the most popular foods among consumers, whether it’s your favorite steak or burger. But it can also be one of the most confounding, with questions ranging from the right cut, to the right way to cook it to where it came from,” said Harrison. “That’s why we wanted to make beef easier to enjoy. We’re setting out to answer the biggest questions that consumers have about beef, all in one place.”

To launch the campaign, NCBA has produced an “anthem” video that features the familiar children’s song, “Old McDonald Had a Farm,” with a new twist, to celebrate the American tradition of ranching while shedding light on what’s new about raising food today. This summer, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. team traveled more than 3,800 miles from coast to coast to capture video, images and the stories about the real people who raise beef. The new series of videos and content will feature only real farmers and ranchers from across the country. While cattle and beef are raised differently in California than in Florida, or Iowa or Washington, the passion and commitment to care for the animals and land is the same.

Harrison explained that through the video series, consumers will learn about each step of the beef production process, from the farms and ranches, to feedlots, to processing and retail and to the consumer.

“Today’s farmers and ranchers blend time-honored traditions with cutting-edge innovations to raise beef, from drones and GPS tracking on the range to apps and other electronic tools that ensure precise and nutrient-filled rations in the feed bunk,” she said. Later in the year, new advertisements that celebrate beef’s unique qualities as a protein source will launch to appeal to consumers’ genuine love for beef, along with virtual tools such as 360 degree videos that show how beef goes from pasture to plate.

This all comes at a great time to enjoy beef. The recently completed National Beef Quality Audit, funded by the beef checkoff, shows a higher percentage of beef is grading Prime and Choice – the two highest grades USDA assigns – than it has in more than 35 years. Steak tenderness has achieved its best tenderness scores since testing began in 1990, according to the National Beef Tenderness Study.

To launch the campaign, NCBA is working with its new digital advertising agency of record, VML. VML created the new digital platform, BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

“Digital is a powerful medium that turns marketing on its head because of the power given to the consumer. Instead of telling people what to think, digital platforms – whether it’s BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com or the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Facebook page or Instagram feed – allow people to discover beef the way they want to,” Eric Baumgartner, VML executive vice president said.

To help launch the new Beef. It’s What For Dinner. brand, VML worked with NCBA to produce the “anthem” video and the series of beef producer videos, as well as designed the new brand logo.

To share the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand story through public relations and earned media efforts, Ketchum will continue to be NCBA’s public relations agency of record.

To learn more about the new digital platform, click here.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States may retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

Beef Contractor Program Profits | Checkoff Chat

beef checkoff contractors profitQ: Do contractors make money from the checkoff?

A: No. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and USDA must approve all checkoff budgets and programs before any contractors are reimbursed for program costs on a cost-recover basis. Contractors pay program costs from their own organizational budgets, and then are reimbursed only for substantiated direct costs incurred in implementing approved checkoff programs.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Are Packers on Cattlemen’s Beef Board | Checkoff Chat

Beef Checkoff Packer PaymentsQ: Do packers and importers pay the checkoff?

A: Any packer who owns cattle for more than 10 days prior to harvest must pay the dollar-per-head checkoff on each animal. There are, however, no packer seats on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Importers pay the $1-per-head checkoff or the equivalent, on imported cattle, beef and beef products, amounting to several million dollars each year. Meet the current members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Beef Checkoff Seeking Producer Input Through Survey

beef checkoff logoIn connection with the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), the checkoff is helping to distribute a producer survey about use of antibiotics on cattle operations. The survey was created with the help of Kansas State University, in response to comments from the checkoff’s Safety Subcommittee at the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference.

NIAA has been a checkoff subcontractor to the National Livestock Producers Association, on authorization requests that have helped provide funding for a national symposium about use of antibiotics in food animals for each of the last five years. During their meeting in July, members of the checkoff’s Safety Subcommittee discussed the need for more producer information on the topic, possibly gathered through a survey about their use of antibiotics. With that, NIAA worked with KSU to prepare a survey for producers, and all Beef Board members and Federation directors are encouraged to participate in the survey and pass the link along to other producers, to achieve the highest participation possible!

Click here to go to survey – http://bit.ly/checkoff-survey

Contracting with the Beef Checkoff | Checkoff Chat

BIWFD Checkoff ContractorsQ: Who can contract with the checkoff on the national level?

A: By definition, qualified checkoff contracting organizations are national nonprofit beef industry-governed organizations. The role of these organizations is to contract with the Beef Promotion Operating Committee to conduct promotion, research, consumer and industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications programs funded with beef checkoff dollars and under Agriculture Marketing Service Guidelines. See all the current national contractors and programs at BeefBoard.org.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Montana Beef Checkoff Directors Set Work Plan for Upcoming Fiscal Year

Montana Beef Council President Kristin Larson, Stockgrowers Representative

Montana Beef Council President Kristin Larson, Stockgrowers Representative

BILLINGS – The Montana Beef Council will invest about $1.8 million into programs of beef promotion, education, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications in fiscal year 2016, which begins Oct. 1 2015. Programs approved are funded through Montana’s 50 cent in-state portion of the $1 per head checkoff.

In action concluding its Sept. 9-11 meeting in Billings, the MBC Board of Directors—all volunteers, including members from nearly all segments of the beef supply chain—approved checkoff funding for a total of 27 project funding requests, or proposals for checkoff funding, in the fiscal year.

“I was so impressed with the engagement between contractors and our board members at this year’s meeting, said Kristin Larson, Montana Beef Council president, a producer and livestock auction market partner from Sidney. “As a producer it is exciting to be part of all the great work and programs happening on our behalf to promote our product.”

As a result of its deliberations, the board of directors approved requests from 13 different organizations that will meet the mission of protecting and increasing demand for beef and beef products. The Fiscal Year 2016 Work Plan for the Montana Beef Council includes:

  • $47,750 for in-state education programs, including health professionals, athletes, classroom education, farm fairs, environmental stewardship award program and tradeshows across the state;
  • $86,465 for in-state promotional programs, focusing on tradeshows, international meat buyer tour of Montana, consumer radio and print advertising, innovative beef contest, barbecue cook-off and statewide retail and foodservice partnerships;
  • $21,000 for in-state beef safety and issues management comprised of disseminating accurate information about the beef community to counter misinformation as well as the beef quality assurance program;
  • $33,450 for in-state producer communications, which includes producer outreach using digital and radio communication as well direct communications to producers about checkoff results;
  • $279,000 for domestic consumer marketing to continue consumer outreach, digital advertising, beef safety research, nutrition research, quality research, issues management, retail support, influencer engagement and foodservice support; and
  • $113,600 for foreign marketing and education in over 80 countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico and many more.
Board members interviewing potential contractors. (L to R: Bill Cok, Richard Anderson, Linda Swanz, Kathy Creighton-Smith)

Board members interviewing potential contractors. (L to R: Bill Cok, Richard Anderson, Linda Swanz, Kathy Creighton-Smith)

Other expenses funded through the budget include $318,200 for administration, which includes insurance, office lease, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, Department of Livestock administration expenses, collection administration expenses, board expenses, travel and administrative staff compensation.

The Montana Beef Council is active throughout the year on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and can be found at www.montanabeefcouncil.org.

Beef Emails Offer More Information | Checkoff Chat

Sign up for Checkoff Updates at BeefBoard.org today!

Sign up for Checkoff Updates at BeefBoard.org today!

Q: I never see information about what the checkoff is doing. Why not?

A: Updated information is always available at MyBeefCheckoff.com, where you can also sign up to receive regular e-mail updates. The Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Montana Beef Council are always looking for the most effective and efficient ways to share information and communicate with producers. Currently the Montana Beef Council works with news media, agriculture organizations, publications and other sources to disseminate information about checkoff investments. If you have suggestions for how you would like to stay updated on the checkoff, be sure to contact Montana Beef Council. Sign up for regular checkoff updates: at BeefBoard.org.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Beef Staying Relevant in the Digital Age | Checkoff Chat

The 30 Day Protein Challenge is one example of the Beef Checkoff digital promotion efforts.

The 30 Day Protein Challenge is one example of the Beef Checkoff digital promotion efforts. Click here to learn more.

Q: Is the beef checkoff staying relevant in this digital age?

A: You bet. For example, in 2006 the Beef Checkoff was delivering beef enjoyment messages to consumers through a checkoff-funded national radio and print advertising campaign that reached 96 percent of targeted adults more than 18 times at a cost-per-impression of less than a penny.

Fast forward to the launch of the Beef Checkoff digital campaign in April 2014 to the end of the fiscal year, the new Checkoff digital advertising campaign has motivated over 1,700,000 consumers to visit the checkoff website, viewing over 3,500,000 web pages worth of beef tips, cooking techniques, nutritional information and recipes. This marks a dramatic increase in visitors to the site, rising 360% in terms of number of consumers and pages viewed compared to FY13 figures.  As a result, the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” website is now the Checkoff’s most important avenue for disseminating beef info and recipes directly to consumers.

Further, through a paid social media advertising campaign over a five-month period, the checkoff has driven more than 1 million social engagements, defined as likes, shares, comments and retweets on the “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” Facebook and Twitter pages. Social advertising also contributed to more than 450,000 Facebook users engaging with beef checkoff content and recipes as well as drove more than 14,000 interactions on Twitter. The Checkoff’s Digital Advertising campaign also drove over 5 million views of online video spots, including over 1,800,000 video views on YouTube alone.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.

Beef Checkoff Adopts New Committee Structure

beef checkoff logoSubsequent to adoption of the new 2016-2020 Beef Industry Long Range Plan during the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver last month, the national Beef Checkoff Program transitioned its committee structure to reflect the consumer demand drivers critical to the success of that long range plan.

“Our checkoff committees align directly with the core strategies of the current Long Range Plan to make certain that our checkoff investments are tightly focused on the most important goals for the industry as a whole,” said Cattlemen’s Beef Board Chairman Jimmy Maxey, “so we felt it necessary to realign our committee structure with that new Long Range Plan.”

Federation of State Beef Councils Chairman Jennifer Houston explained further: “Checkoff committee deliberations are a key element in how programs are identified, and this new blueprint for our committee structure will go a long way toward focusing our checkoff efforts.”

The five new checkoff committees, which comprise members of the Beef Board and the Federation in recommending programs for funding with the Beef Board budget, include:

  1. Safety Committee – Beef safety research and communication at all levels will be the focus of this committee, including how producers improve the safety of their product and how to best share safety information with beef community stakeholders, consumers and influencers.
  2. Nutrition and Health Committee – This committee will focus on beef nutrition and health research and communication, including how producers might improve and share beef’s nutrition and health benefits with beef community stakeholders, consumers and influencers.
  3. Innovation Committee – This committee will focus on innovation in both beef products and beef product marketing in the channels. That is based on the fact that consumers, processors, retailers, foodservice operators, and other beef community stakeholders want new, fresh ideas for beef in the retail meat case and on consumers’ plates.
  4. Export Growth Committee – Given that export markets offer opportunity for unparalleled growth for U.S. beef, this committee will focus on growing value and volume of exports through management of access issues originating within the market itself, as well as aggressive and effective in-country product marketing in those countries offering excellent opportunity for U.S. beef.
  5. Social Responsibility Committee – With a great story to tell, this committee will focus on building and maintaining consumer trust by using research to pursue continual improvement, with an eye toward long-term sustainable and profitable beef production, and better consumer communications.

In addition to the five committees, the two organizations voted for continuation of the checkoff’s Market Research Working Group and Investor Relations Working Group (formerly the Producer Communications Working Group).

For Summer Conference committee recaps, and to learn more about your beef checkoff investment, visitMyBeefCheckoff.com.

–Press Release, Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Consumers Demand Beef in the Meat Case | Checkoff Chat

Beef in the Meat Case Consumer Demand

Beef retains a 49% share of retail dollar sales in grocery meat cases.

Q: Do consumers still want beef?

A: Yes they do. Consumer demand for beef is strong. In fact, even with higher beef prices, demand for beef increased nearly 7 percent in 2014, and beef brought more sales for foodservice and retail operators than any other protein.

When it comes to price, consumer say beef is worth it. According the Beef Checkoff’s Consumer Beef Index, 70 percent say steaks are worth the price, and 83 percent feel this way regarding ground beef.

The signal is clear: Consumers want beef. Nothing delivers a satisfying meal quite like beef, and consumers remain willing to spend more for the beef they want, even more so than for other proteins. Read more from Beef Issues Quarterly.

Checkoff Chat Montana Beef CouncilRead more about the Beef Checkoff Programs in our Checkoff Chat Series with the Montana Beef Council. Click here to submit your own questions to be answered in future posts.

About the Beef Checkoff
The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. It assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the $1 and forward the other 50 cents to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. The Montana Beef Council was created in 1954 by cattlemen as a marketing organization for the Montana beef industry and is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international beef promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.