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Influencing beef demand grows the market

By Jennifer Carrico

RUHLAND—Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland discussed how to increase beef demand when supplies are low. (Journal photo by Jennifer Carrico.)

Beef demand is influenced by many factors and helps producers get more money for their product, according to Cattlemen's Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland.

Ruhland spoke to producers during a general session at the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention in Tampa, Fla., recently.

"We can't control the beef supply, but we can influence demand by promoting the importance of beef in the diet," she said.

She said beef demand is currently up 2 percent, which is great since supplies are down so much. The demand drivers are economic determinants; consumer trends; qualities such as taste, consistency and convenience; and changes in consumer demographics and lifestyles.

"The long-range plan includes improving the domestic consumer preference and learning what more we need to provide for the American consumer," she said. "That includes convenience items. The average consumer takes 40 minutes to decide what to make and make a meal."

Ruhland said CBB is focused 100 percent on the consumer and providing a product that consumers continue to demand.

About 85 percent of U.S. beef is sold to domestic consumers, while 15 percent is exported.

The domestic success has seen high demand because of successful advertising campaigns promoting beef in national magazines, television, newspapers, billboards and through social media.

"We have to remember that consumers want convenience and we need to be a better marketer than our competitors," she said. "By giving people choices and letting them know they have the choices with beef, we continue to expand our markets."

Ruhland said sustainability is a very important thing to consumers and cattle producers need to care because consumers care.

She stressed the importance of cattle producers standing up for the checkoff and how the checkoff dollars are spent.

"Members make the decisions as to what is important for the industry. It's up to you," she added.

Jennifer Carrico can be reached by phone at 515-833-2120, or by email at jcarrico@hpj.com.

Date: 3/11/2013

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