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Branded beef now the norm

By Mitch Lies

Capital Press

Once a niche product, branded beef now accounts for more than half the product sold.

Once little more than a niche market, branded beef today is the norm.

More than half the beef sold at retail these days is branded, according to a 2010 National Meat Case Audit.

The audit found that 51 percent of beef sold in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available, was branded, up from 31 percent in 2007.

“Branded beef products are a very big part of our industry and are very well thought of,” said Dave Bohner, extension beef specialist at Oregon State University in Burns, Ore.

“It is a way to differentiate one product from another and add value to the product,” he said.

Certified Angus Beef ranks number one among more than 130 value-added brands available for beef producers, according to the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center in Ames, Iowa. Certified Angus Beef can be found in more than 13,600 restaurants and grocery stores worldwide, according to the center.

Brand qualifications typically call for producers to raise cattle under specific production practices, such as antibiotic-free or hormone-free, and brands can be breed-specific, according to the center. The center is as a national information resource for value-added agriculture.

The amount of organic beef products on the market also is increasing, according to Bohnert.

“Over the last five to 10 years, the organic market has increased dramatically,” he said. “It is still a small portion of total beef sales, representing only 1 or 2 percent of beef consumption, but it is a segment of our industry that some of our producers are taking advantage of.”



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