Making Smaller Cuts Available For Consumers

US - State beef councils are joining with the national Beef Checkoff Programme in support of a new retail beef marketing programme that has the potential to significantly increase US beef sales.
calendar icon 1 December 2011
clock icon 2 minute read

The checkoff-funded programme, called Beef Alternative Marketing (BAM), has identified innovative cutting techniques and marketing strategies for securing beef purchases from shoppers who previously looked elsewhere for nutritious, high-quality, size-appropriate proteins.

BAM creates smaller fillets and roasts out of beef ribeyes, top loins and top sirloins. These new cuts are thicker than many being sold by retailers, which have been sliced thinner because of larger beef carcase sizes and a retail desire to control package weights. By increasing cut thickness, final product quality is protected. At the same time, smaller portions give consumers the sizes and nutritional profiles they seek.

Many retailers are embracing the programme because it capitalises on the popularity and profitability of middle meats. BAM includes a complete cutting and marketing programme, including retailer training materials, point-of-sale materials, recipes, cooking instructions, charts, photos and instructional cutting posters.

According to Jim Henger, executive director of channel marketing for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a checkoff contractor, BAM is a perfect product for the times because it allows retailers to offer a product that has a new nutritional selling point, is sized to increase sales and retains the cooking quality of larger steaks. Furthermore, focus groups have shown that consumers not only like the new shapes and thicknesses of the cuts, they are not concerned about higher per-pound costs because there is a lower price per package.

Also important for the beef industry is that research shows new sales of BAM cuts take nothing away from the sales of larger beef items. That’s because many consumers who might have shied away from larger cuts, such as women purchasing meat for themselves or their children, appreciate the new sizes and nutritional profiles, and recognised the usefulness of the cuts for both weekdays and weekends.

The highly successful Value Added Cuts programme for chuck cuts, which introduced such cuts as the Flat Iron Steak and the Denver Cut, increased the value of each carcase by $50 - $70, according to Cattle-Fax, and a Value Added Cuts programme for round cuts is expected to add another $20 - $30.

Value Cuts helped set the stage for BAM by showing retailers how changes in beef marketing supported by the Beef Checkoff Programme could benefit their operations. BAM takes change one step further, helping show retailers how to enhance beef sales and customer loyalty by modifying cutting and marketing within the stores.

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