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Building beef demand by inspiring, unifying and supporting an effective state/national checkoff partnership.

Virginia Joins in Unique Food Truck Partnership

#proteinchallenge Digital Advertising in High Gear Funded by the Beef Checkoff.

Some restaurants in urban areas give the concept of “fast food” a whole new meaning. Food trucks travel to the customers, rather than asking the customers to travel to the restaurant. The Virginia Beef Industry Council has jumped aboard the concept, starting off by partnering with the DC Food Truck Association to sponsor an I Heart Beef Cooking Contest at the Curbside Cookoff in Washington, D.C., last fall. The competition gave food truck chefs 45 minutes to build a recipe from six surprise ingredients: Skirt Steak, jicama, granny smith apples, pineapple, serrano chiles and tomatillos. VBIC featured the winning beef recipe on its website. Additionally, VBIC produced two videos on YouTube on the TasteMade DC app in conjunction with the partnership. TasteMade DC highlights restaurants by guiding consumers through the process of developing their own food review videos. “The average patrons of food trucks are young professionals who are millennials, so this is an outstanding place to promote beef,” according to Valerie Van Dyke, VBIC director of consumer marketing. “We’re excited to be able to be part of this opportunity to showcase beef in fun, distinctive ways Judges in the I Heart Beef Cooking Contest included VBIC’s Valerie Van Dyke (left), that highlight its taste an unidentified consumer panelist, James Beard award-winning chef Ris Lacoste, and versatility.”

The Beef Checkoff Program’s digital “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner” advertising effort, begun a year ago, is having tremendous success in a competitive marketplace. Already the digital advertising has had a nearly 700 percent increase in the acquisition rate of new Facebook fans and a 272 percent increase in total website visits over 2014. Now the campaign has geared up for the year’s biggest advertising push — grilling season, which runs from May through September. According to a checkoff-funded Google Consumer Survey conducted in May, nearly half (46.3 percent) of consumers are excited about serving beef this summer grilling season – which is nearly double that of any other protein. Also, 42 percent of consumers say they are likely to grill beef burgers (61.4 percent) and steaks (45 percent) over other proteins like chicken or pork. This summer’s campaign will reach consumers in a variety of ways, across different platforms: Website: serves as the go-to resource #proteinchallenge for recipes and meal inspirations, cooking tips and techniques, and nutrition information. A new landing page supporting the grilling season has been launched. New Videos: Three new “No-Recipe Recipe” advertising videos have been created to inspire new meal ideas and cooking techniques, while showing how beef can help bring a delicious and nutritious meal to life. Social, Banners, Search Advertising: These components will be used throughout the summer to drive traffic to the website and various content assets throughout the year, such as recipe collections, videos and the grilling season landing page. Protein Challenge: Launched in April 2015, the Protein Challenge has already generated more than 137,000 page visits on, making it the most popular page on the website. Search and Facebook advertising efforts have motivated more than 10,500 consumers to subscribe to daily Protein Challenge e-mails.

Burger Boom Continues

Partnerships in Planning

State beef councils around the country continue to focus on burgers through a variety of contests and promotions. And it makes sense: The popularity of burgers continues to expand. According to the National Restaurant Association, last year U.S. restaurants and cafeterias served 9 billion hamburgers, an increase of 3 percent. That jump stood in contrast to the declining fortunes of the grilled chicken sandwich, the burger’s only real competition in the sandwich wars, which fell 9 percent to 1.3 billion. Many quick-service restaurant names associated with burgers are legendary: McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s, to name a few. But there are other newer entrants to the field, including Five Guys, In-N-Out Burger and the newest entrant in the field, Shake Shack, which recently filed to go public in a $1 billion IPO. While those chains are benefitting from the overall increased spending on eating out at restaurants and the improving economy, they also obviously have a good understanding of the taste buds of the American public.

Lydia Hancock (left), Tennessee Beef Industry Council, and Tami Arnold, Colorado Beef Council, were two of the 22 participants from 12 states at the 2-day Partnerships in Planning conference in the NCBA offices in early May. At the event, state beef council staff professionals had an opportunity to provide input into national checkoff plans for 2016 and learn more about how their states could extend the reach and effectiveness of NCBA’s plans. In addition to the staff participating in Denver, another 20 or so state councils joined in at least some of the event’s real time sessions by webcast.

and Conor Doyle, a professional soccer player for the DC United Soccer Team.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff.

State Beef Councils See Wins in Touring Traditions

It has been a program trend that has proven successful throughout the country: Let key audiences get up close and personal with the cattle and beef industry in a state, increasing beef industry knowledge and creating additional goodwill with important thought leaders. Two state beef councils recently added to the win column. The farm became the classroom for 25 chefs and registered dietitians in Southeast Wisconsin recently, as the Wisconsin Beef Council conducted a “Farm to Fork” tour of Wisconsin’s beef industry. The event was partially funded with a grant from the Federation Initiative Fund. Many of the tour participants had never been on a farm. “Receiving firsthand information from the farmer was extremely beneficial,” said one chef. “I was able to see just how much they care about their animals and that they are raised humanely throughout the entire lifecycle.” Participants gained an understanding of modern farming practices, sustainability, food safety and nutrition, according to John Freitag, WBC executive director. The tour

demonstrated that Wisconsin’s 14,000 beef producers raise their cattle with care, and that consumers can seek out many choices of high quality, wholesome and nutritious beef at local meat markets, grocers’ meat cases and restaurants. “Helping connect culinary professionals to beef producers and beef educational experts is vital,” Freitag said. “By showcasing beef cuts to add value to menus while communicating with foodservice professionals who directly impact consumers’ choices, we can strengthen the understanding of beef in today’s food chain.” Meanwhile, the Colorado Beef Council gave 44 chefs and other foodservice professionals a taste of the beef industry April 27 at a full-day birth-to-box tour. The tour was conducted in partnership with the Colorado Chefs Association. The event consisted of a focus on four industry segments: cow/calf, feedlot, harvesting plant and animal health. “I think the foodservice professionals all walked away with a newfound respect for the cattle industry,” according to Tami Arnold, CBC director of marketing. “These professionals had a lot of

good questions, and we were able to answer them honestly and directly.” Tour participants agreed the event was worthwhile. “This was an amazing glimpse into the beef industry,” according to Jason Morse, owner and executive chef at 5280 Culinary. “We owe it to ourselves and our customers to have as much background information as we can. This information will be used by me and my team to further educate our staff and customers on how

important the beef industry is and what they do to continue to be great stewards of our environment and resources.”

Participants of the Wisconsin Beef Council tour.

Participants of the Colorado Beef Council tour.

Federation of State Beef Councils-June 2015