Ohio, Sept. 15, 2008 – Many things have changed since the Certified
Angus Beef ® brand was established in 1978. One thing that hasn't, though, is the brand's role in setting the pace for the industry. True to its mission, its leadership spans from Angus cattle producers to consumers.
“From day one, we have been owned by the men and women in this great country who raise Angus cattle,” said John Stika, president of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB), at the brand's annual conference celebrating the landmark anniversary. “The Certified
Angus Beef ® brand is truly unique – a producer-owned and focused, highly specialized brand, marketed by the finest companies in the industry, bringing value to all segments of the production and merchandising chain.”
As CAB enters its 30th year, the brand and its partners' accomplishments were celebrated with a record number of attendees at its annual conference, Sept. 11-13 in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Partners were recognized for their commitment to quality, integrity and marketing achievements – all integral to the brand's success since the beginning.
“What our customers accomplished with the brand this year is nothing short of amazing,” Stika said. “Your success continues to drive the message to producers that we need more high-quality cattle.”
This fiscal year, Certified Angus Beef ® product sales are on track for 630 million pounds, nearly 8% more than the 2007 record. The brand also marked six of its top 10 sales months this year, with a 57-million-pound high in August. Retail also set records of more than 29 million pounds in May and June. Value-added products eclipsed 14 million pounds for the year.
Keynote speaker Alan Hobson, a Mt. Everest climber, summiteer and cancer survivor, captivated the crowd with his story of passion, persistence and peak performance. He paralleled his Mt. Everest to the brand's Everest of the industry.
“For a typical expedition, it takes 3 to 7 years to plan and fundraise – and the average person stands on top for less than 15 minutes,” he said. In the beef industry, he said, all the preparation, planning, breeding and product aging leads to just a few seconds for the consumer to say, “Wow, that was a great steak!”
Hobson's training mantra is: Can. Will. “In every obstacle, there is always opportunity,” he said. “We are all mountaineers, all climbing our own mountains – marketing mountains, sales mountains. No matter how steep, we have to keep climbing. The future of the brand depends on it.”
Dr. J. Daryl Tatum, Colorado State University meat scientist and professor, discussed great taste as the No. 1 reason consumers choose beef. Tatum shared results from his research that indicated flavor – not tenderness or other factors – ultimately drives consumer satisfaction and the price they are willing to pay.
“If beef tastes great, people are not only more likely to buy it, but also more willing to pay more for it,” Tatum said. “Consumers also demonstrated a willingness to pay higher prices for steaks from grain-fed cattle based on flavor preference.”
Conference attendees watched as CAB corporate chef Scott Popovic faced Chef Ray Sierengowski, corporate research chef for Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., in the inaugural Chef Challenge. Each of the competitors prepared a signature dish featuring a secret Certified
Angus Beef ® brand value-added product, revealed at the start of the hour-long throwdown. A panel of judges, selected among conference guests, chose Chef Sierengowski and his “Taste of the Midwest” appetizer and entrée, featuring Certified
Angus Beef ® precooked pot roast, as the victor.
Sierengowski's appetizer offered three flights – North Woods chili, white bean chili and classic beef pot pie. His entrée was classic beef pot roast. Sierengowski won an all-expense paid trip to New York City, to attend the “Great Steak Celebration” sponsored by the brand at the renowned James Beard House in honor of its anniversary.
“I wanted my dishes to showcase the pot roast for the wonder that it is – flavorful, tender pot roast,” he said. “My goal was to let people take these dishes and be the star of the show. Even if it is fully prepared, they can add their special touches and receive great comments from their family or guests.”
Conference guests also took an active role in selecting winners with the new People's Choice Awards. Nominees – both retailers and foodservice broadliners and specialty meat companies – were rated on their outstanding advertisements, contests and promotions. Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., Charleston, S.C., took home the coveted cowboy trophy for retail. Foodservice winners were Southern Foods, Greensboro, N.C., and SYSCO Food Services of Spokane, Post Falls, Idaho.
A full slate of additional awards were presented to retail, foodservice, international, value-added products and supply development partners who demonstrated excellence in sales, marketing and integrity. (Winners' information and photos are available online at http://www.certifiedangusbeef.com/press/ac/.)
A charity golf outing, sponsored by Palmer Food Services/G&C Food Distributors, Rochester, N.Y., and auction raised a record $67,150 for the Mick Colvin Scholarship Program, which supports scholarship opportunities for future beef industry leaders. Palmer will return as the golf outing's title sponsor in 2009, purchasing the sponsorship at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $20,000. Fundraising efforts at the conference helped the Angus Foundation, a division of the American Angus Association in St. Joseph, Mo., reach the $5 million mark on its drive to $11 million. The fund provides scholarship, youth education and research programs.
Certified Angus Beef LLC celebrated 30 years of premium branded beef at its annual conference Sept. 11-13 in Coeur D'Alene, Idaho. More than 14,300 partners sell Certified
Angus Beef® brand products throughout the United States and internationally. Annual sales top $2.5 billion. The Certified
Angus Beef ® brand, introduced in 1978, is Angus beef at its best®. Less than eight percent of beef achieves the brand's benchmark standards that ensure mouthwatering flavor, juiciness and tenderness. For more information, visit www.certifiedangusbeef.com.