This edition of Beef Issues Quarterly focuses on change. There are important changes taking place in the business and consumer climate in which the industry operates and
these changes bring new challenges.
W. Edwards Deming, perhaps most noted for saying "you can't manage what you can't
measure," also summed up response to change by saying: "It is not necessary to change.
Survival is not mandatory."
In this edition we discuss changes taking place in America's kitchens, shifts in the focus
of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a major change in the way communication
takes place in our "connected" society, and an analysis of the new generation that is driving
that communications transformation as well as many other social changes. We also examine
a welcome positive change in the volume and value of beef exports.
Changes in America's kitchens
Wendy Jenkins, NCBA Director of Market Research, explores several shifts taking place in kitchens in America that affect beef. Different appliances are being used, different amounts of time are being spent preparing and cooking meals and several different meals are being prepared for the dinner within the same family. These shifts affect how beef is used by consumers and illustrates the need for the industry to focus on consumer expectations of preparation time as well as preparation methods for beef.
Shifts in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Dr. Shalene McNeil, NCBA Executive Director of Nutrition Research, reviews some important changes in the development of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. For the past 30 years the Dietary Guidelines have recommended consumption of lean meats as part of a healthy diet. In fact, the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommended that Americans "go lean with protein" along with a recommendation to eat more fruits and vegetables. But the industry anticipates, based on the language of the latest Dietary Guidelines Report, that consumers will be encouraged to "shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet" and consume "only moderate amounts of lean meat, poultry and eggs." It could be argued that this isn't really a new diet recommendation, but the explicit use of broad categories such as "plant-based" may imply a philosophical approach and could limit flexibility for individuals to build healthy dietary patterns they enjoy. This makes it more important than ever for the beef industry to promote the role of lean beef in a healthy optimal diet and to discuss the nutrient advantage that beef provides.
The new communication world
Science fiction writers often are technology visionaries, and 20 years, ago many of them were setting their stories in a "connected" world in which everyone was hooked into an interactive communications network. Meredith Stevens, NCBA Manager of Digital Marketing, explains how that connected world is no longer fictional. It has become real in the form of social media which consists of tools that facilitate people talking, networking, sharing and otherwise communicating online. It includes social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and social sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr. Social media is emerging rapidly as the primary way consumers share their opinion with the world around them. According to The Huffington Post, social media is the No. 1 activity on the Web. And consider this, to reach 50 million users… it took radio 38 years, TV 13 years, the Internet four years, but Facebook reached 200 million users in less than one year. Social media is not just a trend. It continues to revolutionize how people communicate and receive information.
The emerging, constantly connected, generation
A new generation is emerging that ultimately will supplant the Baby Boomers as the dominant group in society. This generation, the Millennials, comprises those born from 1980-2000, the last children born in the old millennium. I examine the Millennials and explore what makes them different. It is the Millennials who are driving the social media communication revolution. Millennials sometimes are called the "Net" generation because they have grown up with information technology and don’t remember a time when the Internet did not exist. They are technology dependent, resistant to conventional forms of marketing, constantly connected to the world and to each other through their hand-held digital devices and represent a critical marketing and communication challenge for the beef industry. In addition, a research report in this edition examines Milennials' grilling behavior.
New growth in export markets
After a year in which global agricultural exports were hit by a slumping economy and declining consumer spending, U.S. beef exports are making a strong rebound in 2010. The economic recovery has translated into very good news for U.S. producers conidering the volume of exports has increased by double digits and value significantly more. U.S. Meat Export Federation Economist Erin Daley, analyzes this increase and explains how the resurgence is being led by significant growth in all Asian markets, where there is a growing appetite for American beef.
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Issue Analysis and Strategy
National Cattlemen's Beef Association