Branded Beef Programs

(Travis) So today we’re going to talk about beef branding on beef palatability and overall eating quality. What we do know is that there is a lot of studies that have shown there is a lot of economic value to beef branding or Branded Beef Programs. What we don’t know is when we actually put a brand on a product how does that affect a consumers perception of that product when they actually eat the steak or the ground beef at home? Ultimately the question becomes how does brand help or hurt the eating quality of that product? And so we did some research at Kansas State that really looked at evaluating this. And so what we did is we brought in consumers, people just off the street who typically consumed beef at least once a week and we served them some steaks and we did what we would typically do where we fed them six different samples of beef without them knowing anything about the product other than it was beef steak. They evaluated that and gave us al ot of good feedback and then we actually took the ballots away from them and then fed them another set of steaks. What the consumers didn’t know was that the second set of steaks was the exact same as the first set that they were given. The only difference was, for the second group of steaks we actually told them before they sampled the product what it actually was. Whether it was a certified Angus Beef Steak whether it was an Angus Select Steak, USDA Prime, USDA Choice or USDA Select. And then we were able to take those results and compare them to see actually how the consumer’s perceptions of the products actually changed when they actually know what the brand was. Our results were pretty startling. We found some great results for Certified Angus Beef with 10 percent lift in brand lift because we branded that product as Certified Angus Beef. The consumers were 10 percent more satisfied with the eating quality of that product when they knew it was Certified Angus Beef. Our Angus Select product, which was a very generic product, the only thing we did was put the word Angus in front of it to try and determine the value of that word. We actually saw about a 14 percent increase on overall liking from the consumers just by branding it as an Angus Select product. What’s startling is when we look at USDA Quality Grade, our USDA Prime product showed a similar increase of about 10 percent overall eating satisfaction when consumers knew it was Prime. But for USDA Choice and Select products, they got no benefit and in fact our Select product became 10 percent tougher in consumer’s minds when they knew it was USDA Select. So these results give a pretty good indication of when we talk about Branded Beef Programs that there’s value above and beyond just an economic value, that there is an actual perception and eating quality of brand lift, if you will for those products being branded. Conversely USDA grades are not seen by consumers as being the same quality and so they don’t get the same kind of boost as Branded Beef Programs. It just shows that there’s a lot of value when you create a trusted brand for a product. In consumer’s minds they go above and beyond the economic value. Some ranchers throughout the state that ask us what does data actually mean to that when it comes to actual beef production? Well the short answer is that producing beef that fit Branded Beef Programs is of high importance because those programs will produce beef on the backside that will be valued by consumers. We’ll continue to see the demand grow specifically for Angus products. And so by producers producing animals that will fit those Branded Beef Programs on the back end, it will add economic value throughout the entire value chain.

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