Colo., May 25, 2007 – If you count from its unofficial beginning, Father's Day is almost 100 years old. It began on June 19, 1910, as a proclamation by the mayor of Seattle, Wash., at the behest of a local woman, Sonora Dodd. There was already a Mother's Day and Dodd wanted equal honors for her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who raised six children on a farm.
President Richard Nixon signed the day into public law in 1972, and a lot of ties, tools, golf gear, hugs and outdoor barbecues have marked the day since then.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 74 million Americans participated in a barbecue last year. The census added that it's “safe to assume” that many of them took place on Father's Day. In many cases, dad is in charge of his own cookout, which often means burgers and steaks sizzling on the grill.
Although the summer grilling season hasn't officially arrived, beef sales were up 2 percent in March (compared to 2006), totaling more than $1.4 billion, according to FreshLook Marketing. Following last year's beef checkoff-funded grilling campaign, total beef dollar and pound sales were up three percent and six percent respectively. Grilling cuts made up 67 percent of beef dollar sales during the 2006 national grilling promotion.
“Father's Day has been a significant holiday for the beef industry for many years,” said Don Stewart, vice chairman of the Joint Retail Committee. “Checkoff-funded promotional programs such as the Summer Grilling campaign have helped incrementally increase beef sales in the retail channel.”
The checkoff will fund an aggressive 2007 summer grilling campaign, reaching more than 100 million consumers through newspaper inserts and retail partnerships with A.1. ® Steak Sauce and Marinades, Samuel Adams® beer and Sutter Home® wine. A special Father's Day promotion includes first-time partners, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (promoting Wisconsin Cheese) and Edwards® Frozen Pies.
The beef industry has long celebrated the links between Dads, beef and Father's Day. Fifty-two years ago, the American National CowBelles (now the American National CattleWomen) launched a nationwide Beef for Father's Day promotion that is still held in many communities across the United States. A signature gift to a new dad was a beef roast, weighing the same as the new baby. One of the group's early promotional tag lines was, “Keep Pappy Happy with Beef.”