What's ahead for beef? – Beef Magazine

Last week, this column gave an outlook from Rabobank on the global beef picture. Since this is the time of year for outlooks, be they right or wrong, let’s look at what the economists who write the Daily Livestock Report (DLR) think about the beef cutout.

Why is that important? After all, that’s a long way from the calving pasture. It’s important because what happens at the wholesale and retail end of the beef marketing chain affects you at marketing time and ultimately, affects the genetic decisions you make.

According to DLR’s Dec. 27 report, the rib primal value has collapsed, as it does every year, but the pullback this year has been even more significant than last year.

READ: Facts about the live-to-cutout spread

But don’t worry. That’s a seasonal move as rib demand dampens following the holiday season. “Last year, the pullback for the same time period was 14.5% but the year before that it was 23%. So the rib seasonal is alive and well although it will move around a bit from year to year,” DLR reports.

At this time, what we don’t know yet is the performance of end cuts come January and February. For the beef cutout to gain traction in January, end cuts would need to once again carry more of the value. Higher beef prices in the world market and lack of imports should be supportive but it is far from a sure bet, according to DLR.

“The big unknown is how retailers feature beef roasts and ground beef in Q1. One could argue that the higher [cash register] rings that beef provides will continue to make it an attractive feature item. The economy continues to outperform the doom and gloom talk from some quarters and the partial trade deal with China could also open the doors for more U.S. beef trade in 2020.”

Related: As beef producers look to 2020, all eyes are on China

On the other hand, there are some reasons for concern. “The most significant is the slowdown in beef sales for delivery 22-60 days out. In the four weeks ending Dec. 20, forward sales in this category are down 23% from a year ago and also below both 2017 and 2016 levels.

“This could suggest retailers are planning on fewer features in the second half of January and in February. Forward sales for the 61-90 day window during this period were down 18% and for delivery 90 days or further in the future were down 34%,” according to DLR.

One thing we know for sure: Beef demand has been exceptional and that has been underpinning prices. Yes, feeder cattle and calf prices aren’t as good as we want them to be. But I believe they would be lower were it not for the great beef demand we’ve seen.

So my outlook for 2020 hinges on continued strong beef demand. I’ll use Certified Angus Beef (CAB) as a proxy for the high-quality beef consumers have available.

“The Prime carcass count from 2015 to 2019 has increased by 91%. That’s moving the Prime share of steer/heifer carcasses up from 5% to 8.5% in that period,” CAB’s Paul Dykstra tells me. “The Prime cutout premium to Choice is up 5% from 2015 vs. 2019. Supply has increased tremendously while price has modestly increased too.”

READ: Does beef demand impact you?

The CAB story is similar with a big move in supply. “Same period—2015 vs. 2019 (calendar years)—an increase of 59% in CAB carcasses certified, moving the acceptance rate from 28.3% to 34.9% of all eligible cattle,” Dykstra says. “The CAB cutout premium to Choice in that comparison shows a 21% increase from $8.58 per cwt to $10.39 per cwt. It’s important to realize that Choice supplies were also increasing. As well, CAB supplies are nearly 20% of all fed cattle combined,” he adds.

“The interpretation is that during a period of significant increases in supply of high-quality beef, we have seen premiums for Prime and CAB carcasses increase as well.” 

That’s a clear signal that consumers want the best beef you can produce and are willing to pay for it. Meeting that demand starts with the genetic decisions you make when you buy your herd bulls and the management you put into cow herd and raising your calves.

I don’t know what cattle prices will do in 2020. But I’m certain that the quality of beef you provide to consumers here and around the world has gained a reputation for being the best.

Let’s look forward to 2020 with the certainty that the beef you produce will continue to be best in the world. And also with the hope that trade tensions will lessen and the trade outlook will be better.

That, along with the reputation U.S. beef has established, will continue to underpin cattle prices regardless of which direction they trend.

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Mastro’s to open in Union Square with $240 Kobe beef, $50 cocktails – San Francisco Chronicle

The owners of the high-end Mastro’s Steakhouse chain are betting big on San Francisco with the opening of a 14,000-square-foot, three-level restaurant.

Just off Union Square, it will be the first Northern California location of the national steakhouse group, owned by Texas corporation Landry’s, which also runs Morton’s the Steakhouse, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks and Joe’s Crab Shack. Mastro’s is the most upscale of the Landry’s brands.

While it was set to open Friday, a last-minute inspection had to be rescheduled. It’s not clear when exactly it’ll open, but’ll likely happen by the end of the month.

The San Francisco restaurant boasts a whopping 500 seats, floor-to-ceiling windows, shiny silver booths, a terrace with a retractable ceiling, black

Calacatta marble from Italy and a 4,000-pound chandelier.

The design screams opulence, and that air of luxury carries over to the food and beverages.

The main dining room Mastro's Steakhouse centers around a 4,000-pound chandelier.

The Union Square restaurant will be certified by the Kobe Beef Association in Japan to serve Kobe beef from coveted Tajima cattle. For $240, guests can sear their 4-ounce portion on a hot stone, then dip precious bites in chimichurri, jalapeño ponzu or spicy mustard.

“It’s all about the experience and the show,” said general manager Ian Hoshino, who previously worked for Charlie Palmer’s restaurant group in Napa and Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco.

Mastro’s is known for extensive wine lists — the Houston location won an Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator this year. The 700 options will range from $60 to thousands of dollars per bottle. There will be 60 original cocktails available between the restaurant’s two bars. The Baller, for example, features JCB Gin, caviar dust, shaved black truffle and white truffle oil for $50.

The rest of the menu at Mastro’s, which opened its first location in Arizona in 1999 and now has 18 locations including the new one in San Francisco, is a more classic selection of steaks, chops and seafood options. Signature dishes include Lobster Mashed Potatoes, Alaska King Crab Black Truffle Gnocchi, Warm Butter Cake and 2-foot-tall seafood towers that see dry ice fumes billowing through the dining room. There’s also sushi — a lobster roll goes for $29.

San Francisco has seen an influx of high-end steak-focused restaurants this year, including wagyu emporiums Niku Steakhouse and Ittoryu Gozu. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence is also planning an upscale steakhouse near Chase Center. What will set Mastro’s apart?

“Our steaks are the best,” said Gregory Hammann, Mastro’s regional vice president. Apart from the Kobe, Mastro’s gets its beef from Wisconsin, cooks it in the broiler and serves it on a sizzling plate with clarified butter and parsley.

The filet from Mastro's Steakhouse, opening in San Francisco on Friday.

Perhaps more unusual will be the sheer size and range of dining spaces within Mastro’s. There’s a rooftop-bar like terrace, private dining room and slightly more casual second floor M Bar, where a grand piano is permanently stationed for live music every night.

“This is not a sedate jazz club,” Hammann said. “This is a lively, cosmopolitan atmosphere.”

The Bay Area has long been a target of Mastro’s, according to Hammann. The company plans to open another grand, two-story location in Santa Clara near Westfield Valley Fair in 2020. With its close proximity to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley’s many tech campuses, the next Mastro’s will likely try to deliver even more luxury.

Mastro’s Steakhouse. Dinner 5-11 p.m. daily, bar 4-11 p.m. daily. 399 Geary St., San Francisco. 415-363-9539 or www.mastros.com

This story was updated to reflect new information about the restaurant’s delayed opening.

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: janelle.bitker@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @janellebitker

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A Chicken Sandwich Gives Popeyes and Burger King Latest Reason to Beef Up Digital Marketing – Wall Street Journal

Popeyes sparked a war of words between chicken-sandwich chains with its product launch this summer.


Photo:

Eric Gay/Associated Press

The runaway success of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s chicken sandwich has encouraged the chain’s parent company to rethink how it promotes new menu items.

TV figured prominently in the original launch marketing plans for the Popeyes sandwich in August, with a commercial produced and ready for distribution, said Fernando Machado, global chief marketing officer for Burger King and Popeyes, which are owned by

Restaurant Brands International Inc.

But once a well-timed Popeyes tweet kicked off a so-called chicken sandwich war, the company decided to hold back its TV campaign to let the enthusiasm grow organically.

That tweet, in which Popeyes snarkily responded to a

Twitter

post by rival Chick-fil-A Inc. claiming its own sandwich was the “original,” has been retweeted more than 86,000 times.

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The tactic, combined with related publicity and the appeal of the product itself, worked: Sales at comparable Popeyes restaurants grew 10.2% in the U.S. during the third quarter, largely driven by the furor over the chicken sandwich, which sold out in roughly two weeks.

When Popeyes decided to bring the sandwich back in October, the company again decided to forego TV advertising and committed all of its paid media to digital and social media, print and out-of-home advertising.

“It was all to drive talkability on social and get coverage through PR,” said Mr. Machado. “Normally we do a lot of TV, a little bit of digital, and really push on launch—here we have the most successful product launch since I started here six years ago, and it involved zero TV advertising.”

“It was an unusual approach for us, which will help shape other launches in the future,” he added.

Broader shift

Popeyes and Burger King have both been edging toward spending more on digital media as their investment in tech products and services, including mobile ordering and delivery, has grown. It is easier to get users to download and use an app through digital advertising and promotions than by using TV commercials, while younger consumers’ dwindling TV time and rising use of other screens has also driven investment, Mr. Machado said.

But TV still typically reaps about 80% to 90% of Burger King and Popeyes’ global media budget, especially during new product launches, when the goal is to get the message out as far and as wide as possible.

That is typical for fast-food marketing, Mr. Machado said. “It’s a very retail type of category; you are constantly reminded of the brands, the offers, the promotions,” he said.

Burger King and Popeyes devote a smaller share of ad spending to digital in the U.S. than in some other markets, Mr. Machado said.

And TV will remain a big part of the company’s marketing plans, he said. “It’s still a very effective way to get the word out and get massive reach, though this launch breaks the thought that you can’t launch without TV,” he said.

But he hopes to boost digital ad spending to as much as 20% to 30% of the overall media budget within the next few years.

Mr. Machado declined to comment on how much Popeyes spent promoting its new chicken sandwich, but said the company didn’t spend less by skipping TV.

“Sometimes people have the misconception that a digital campaign should be cheaper than a TV one. The reality is that if you want to trigger talkability in social media, you need to invest properly behind the idea,” he said.

Digital lag

“Restaurants brands at large have been behind other verticals in digital because restaurant sales have moved online more slowly than sales in categories like electronics and apparel,” said William Duffy, a research director at Gartner Inc.

“But with couriers surging in usage and leading brands reporting strong digital growth, restaurant brands are recognizing digital as an opportunity and a threat, and many are now focusing on improving their native digital fulfillment options,” he added.

The RBI brands have been known to create interest using digital marketing stunts. Last year, Burger King ran a promotion on its app which offered customers a Whopper for 1 cent if they went near a

McDonald’s

location. The campaign helped drive 1 million downloads of Burger King’s updated app in October 2018.

“They do a great job with buzzy campaigns,” Mr. Duffy said of Burger King. The goal for marketers is to translate any excitement they generate into repeat customers.

With Popeyes, the chicken sandwich craze was fueled by conversations on Twitter. Tweets about the Popeyes brand rose to about 4,000 a day—twice the regular volume, year over year—in the first week after the sandwich’s launch on August 12, said God-is Rivera, global director of culture and community on Twitter.

One of the most active pro-Popeyes groups on Twitter was what some refer to as “Black Twitter,” where people were talking about the sandwich even before the sandwich wars, Ms. Rivera said. She noted that the buzz wasn’t just coming from stars with large follower-counts, in what could be a sign that it is getting easier for regular social-media users to influence the conversation around a brand.

Write to Sahil Patel at sahil.patel@wsj.com

Copyright ©2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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How meat will reinvent itself in 2020 – Beef Magazine

I recently read an article that suggested packers should blend plant-based proteins with raw beef products. Frankly, this feels like a move your mom would make in an ill-fated attempt to sneak spinach into the meat loaf or spaghetti.

Market your product anyway you like, but please make sure it’s labeled if you do! When I go to the grocery store, I want the real deal. I’m not looking for a “wannabe” imitation product, thank you very much!

Turns out, other consumers feel the same way. That’s according to a recent trends analysis conducted by NewNutrition Business.

Julian Mellentin, is a consultant to the food and beverage industry and author of the new study, titled, “10 Key Trends in Food, Nutrition and Health 2020.”

Mellentin said, “In an era where plant-based is getting all the attention, and meat is under attack, creative meat producers are taking steps to reinvent their category, for example with convenience. They’re moving away from selling big lumps of meat that people have to take home and prepare, to providing easy-to-use products such as meat snacks, sales of which are growing steadily in many countries.”

So how will meat reinvent itself in 2020? Meat as a convenient snack will drive sales in the upcoming year. The global meat snacks market was valued at $7 billion in 2019, according to the report, with an anticipated growth of 7-8% in the next five years. In the U.S., meat snacks grew 6.7% in 2018. And around the world countries including India, China, Brazil and Turkey are quickly developing a taste for convenient meat snacks on the go.

I’m on the road quite a bit for speaking engagements, and this is exciting news for me personally. I love to have options for protein-dense snacks at the gas station, convenience store or airport that I can eat on the run.

The data also showed that consumers want to hear more about sustainability and animal welfare. It also shows that companies who are able to effectively communicate these messages will earn premium prices.

According to the report, “U.S. sales of meat with health or environmental claims are growing rapidly, led by ‘organic,’ up 13.1%, and ‘grass-fed,’ up 12.2%.

Mellentin added, “It’s worth remembering that although meat substitutes are getting lots of media attention, they’re a tiny niche. Sales of organic meat by itself are bigger than those of meat substitutes.”

As meat reinvents itself, flipping misconceptions about health and the environment into talking points about the facts, they will reach a new generation of consumers, who will naturally gravitate toward convenient, sustainable and quality products.

NewNutrition Business said, “It’s a transformation that will be welcomed by consumers. In the U.S. and in the E.U., meat sales have increased in recent years. Americans spent $850 million more on beef alone in 2018-2019 than they did the previous year, and $350 million more on meat snacks. Their additional spending on meat substitutes, by contrast, was just $100 million.”

Mellentin says this growth in sales is because consumers prefer the taste of meat and perceive it to be a high-quality protein. What’s more, diet trends including low carb and kept are giving a resurgence to increased meat consumption.

“Recently-published scientific studies that question the negatives around meat and health are welcome news to consumers, who love to hear that something they enjoy is also good for them – as happened with red wine and chocolate,” said Mellentin.

While most of us aren’t directly involved in direct sales of premium snack products, there is certainly an opportunity to find yourself in a niche and supply to companies who want specific things that consumers are demanding.

Per the report, “Creative meat companies are improving their planetary health profile by taking steps to, for example, improve their sequestration of greenhouse gases, something that will become more common and alleviate the common criticism often made against cattle and sheep.”

“Sustainable” beef snacks for busy on-the-go consumers will be king in 2020. As for the plant-based guys, you can try to sneak your subpar products by blending it into beef, but I suspect, consumers won’t bite as you hope.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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Wyoming Beef, It's What's For Dinner In Taiwan – Wyoming Public Media

Wyoming beef is already in two small restaurants in Taiwan, but soon it'll be more common.

Wyoming beef and lamb could be a regular food item on Taiwanese tables soon thanks to a letter of intent signed by representatives from the Taiwanese meat packing district and several Wyoming agriculture councils.

Taiwan has been purchasing small quantities of beef from Wyoming for almost a year, and soon, they’ll be purchasing lamb too. The letter outlined these plans as well as Wyoming’s promise to meet the growing demand.

“Taiwan has a population of over 23 million people. And it’s an evolving nation in terms of increasing their consumption of beef,” said Jim Magagna, Executive Vice President of the Wyoming Stock Grower’s Association. “It’s the sixth largest export market for beef from the US. For 2017, it was the fastest growing export market in the world for US beef.”

Ron Gullberg, the Business Development Director at the Wyoming Business Council (WBC), also said that in just the two years that US lamb has been imported into Taiwan, consumption increased by 266 percent. That makes a favorable market for Wyoming lamb.

This high demand can be problematic for Wyoming though. If meat is intended for export out of the state or country, it must be processed in a USDA certified processing facility, and there are only two small USDA certified facilities in Wyoming, which are only certified to export interstate–not out of the country.

“Now our big challenge is on this end of the equation, that we don’t have any processing facilities in Wyoming for beef. So, anything we ship has to be processed in a facility somewhere else,” Jim Magagna said. “Right now, we’re doing some in Colorado. And for our producers in Wyoming to benefit, we’re going to have to develop some processing in Wyoming that can process on the volume that we can export into a market like Taiwan and other places in Southeast Asia.”

Processing out of state diminishes some of the return that Wyoming sees on their meat.

“This letter of intent is obviously not a contract, but it’s a conversation starter. The big issue we’re working on public-privately is the tariffs on lamb in Taiwan,” said Ron Gullberg. “So, again, this ceremonial letter of intent gets all these conversations started on how to develop strategies to overcome the barriers and get a steady supply of lamb and beef to Taiwan.”

Trade with Taiwan started after the establishment of the Wyoming Asia-Pacific Trade Office was opened in Taiwan in September of 2018 – making Wyoming the seventh state to establish trade offices in Taiwan.

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Pub burger that is Half Beyond Meat, half beef draws criticism: 'All or nothing' – Fox News

Fifty percent beef, fifty perfect fake – all controversial.

U.K.-based craft beer and pub chain BrewDog has come under fire on Twitter for its earnest attempt at bridging the food world gap between meat eaters and faux-meat eaters with its “Hybrid Burger” launch.

MCDONALD’S ANNOUNCES NEW MCCAFE SEASONAL COFFEE, AND IT’S NOT PUMPKIN-SPICED

The newest offering is made with a 50/50 patty mixture of beef burger and Beyond Meat. The patty is stacked under a potato rosti cake, crispy onion straws, melted vegan gouda cheese and sandwiched between matcha tea buns.

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Much like the patty itself, the Hybrid Burger – which the restaurant touts as “50 % less meat, 100 % delicious” – has received mixed reviews, with most criticizing the burger as unnecessary.

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That said, there were a number of people who admitted they would like to try the burger – or at least understood where the company was coming from with the offering.

Despite the backlash, BrewDog defended its quirky menu addition, stating it was meant to offer an option to those who are interested in meat alternatives, but do not want to completely stop eating meat.

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As the demand for fake meat grows, Beyond Meat has been added to the menu of many chains across the globe.

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