Ohio, November 15, 2007 – The Certified Angus Beef® (CAB®) brand, with sales of more than 584 million pounds, hit the highest mark in its 29-year history for the year ended Sept. 30.
Its 14,300 licensees helped the original premium beef brand achieve an eighth consecutive year at more than half a billion pounds sold, setting records in every division.
A record 13.5 million identified Angus-influence cattle saw an acceptance rate of 16 percent, for a net 2.15 million certified cattle with an average carcass weight of 808 pounds. The enhanced CAB specifications, implemented in January, improved product consistency by eliminating outliers – extremely fat or heavy carcasses and the largest and smallest ribeyes.
The CAB supply development team helped show producers how and why to increase the supply of cattle that meet those stringent standards. Greater outreach to ranchers was paired with more focus within its Feedlot Licensing Program.
The CAB acceptance rate among enrolled cattle there moved up from 14.6 percent last year to 21.1 percent. The higher acceptance was fostered by a record number of cattle harvested for the CAB Natural program: those 28,000 head achieved 32.2 percent acceptance.
An in-depth special report, “Supplying the Brand” was distributed to Angus producers, feedlots, allied industry partners and educators. It explained the production side of the brand and generated widespread interest with downloads from CABpartners.com setting records most of the year.
John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef LLC, credited effective planning and “the unique nature of the program that unifies the beef industry around a quality focus.” Producers, packers, distributors, retailers and restaurants – committed partners in every segment of the industry – drove sales in 39 countries
“Consumers enjoy great-tasting beef, and our business partners help them satisfy their tastes,” Stika said. “Awareness of the brand's assured quality continues to grow demand.” Indeed, consumer research in 2007 showed 91 percent of consumers recognize the CAB brand simply by its logo.
While five consecutive months recorded sales of more than 50 million pounds each, the brand had its most successful month in June 2007, with more than 56 million pounds sold. The record volume also sold at a record price.
“We must have supply to fulfill the brand's mission of adding value to Angus cattle,” Stika said. “But the brand is more than simply the best product. It's also about people and integrity.”
Growth is a sign that the CAB brand is adding value for everyone from producers to consumers, he added.
CAB brand Natural, with 180 percent higher sales at 7.7 million pounds, comes from cattle on vegetarian diets that have never been administered hormones or antibiotics and that meet all other brand standards.
Sales of CAB brand Prime continued upward as well, with 6.4 million pounds representing a 23 percent increase, and value-added CAB brand products jumped off the shelves in fiscal '07 for a record 13.5 million pounds sold.
In foodservice, the third consecutive year of record sales moved passed the 200-million-pound, for 12 percent growth in a division that represented 36 percent of total brand sales. New licensee Uno Chicago Grill featured CAB steaks in 195 locations.
Retail sales remained the largest segment with 49.8 percent of sales, or 290.5 million pounds. June's 29 million pounds knocked down a record that had stood since 2002. The credit goes to established accounts using shadow pricing and integrated merchandising, but also to such newly licensed partners as South Carolina-based Bi-Lo Supermarkets, with more than 230 stores.
International sales increased nearly 40 percent, thanks largely to the brand's Canadian and Mexican customers. Sales also doubled in Taiwan and Hong Kong, two of the top five international CAB markets. The 51 million pounds sold outside of the United States represented 8.7 percent of the brand's total sales.
Marketing efforts informed licensees and consumers, and a targeted campaign in Albany, N.Y., featured Price Chopper in-store promotions and special events. The CAB brand stayed in the public eye through television and radio interviews with corporate chef Scott Popovic and home economist Sarah Donohoe, as well as regular news and recipe releases.
A CAB partnership with The Sharper Image and Trump Steaks™ provided national exposure from catalog exclusives to late-night NBC and CBS network banter and a QVC cable program with Donald Trump.
National advertising usually costs a lot. The CAB brand featured at no cost in a MasterCard commercial? “Priceless.”
CAB unveiled a new consumer advertising campaign based on its extensive research. It features “experts” – a chef, a rancher and a meat cutter. On the industry side, advertising runs in conjunction with CAB's parent organization, the American Angus Association. People from each segment come together to showcase the brand's connection to ranchers, feedlot owners, distributors, retailers and notable restaurateurs.
“We're dealing with the highest quality in the marketplace,” said Stika. “In a market that has growing demand for high quality and less demand for lower quality, our brand is positioned very nicely for success.”
To consumers, the CAB brand is Angus beef at its best®. To producers, it is also the
brand that pays®, in recognition of the millions of dollars paid to producers of CAB qualified cattle each year.
Only eight percent of beef can achieve the brand's benchmark standards that ensure mouthwatering flavor, juiciness and tenderness. Offered at restaurants and retailers throughout the U.S. and internationally, annual brand sales top $2.5 billion. For more information, visit CABpartners.com or certifiedangusbeef.com.