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Tool helps beef industry evaluate consumer preferences

Tool helps beef industry evaluate consumer preferences
The Consumer Beef Index has been around for a decade. It measures changes in consumer perceptions and demand for beef.

The Consumer Beef Index is the kind of third-party research crucial to an industry that sometimes has a skewed perspective, says the executive director of the Washington State Beef Commission.

“When you’re from the industry, you’re not objective,” Patti Brumbach said. “We’re just too close to our product and our work. Being involved in the CBI allows us to see the consumer objectively, and plan and act accordingly. We need to remember that what we do starts and ends with the consumer.”

The Consumer Beef Index measures consumer impressions of beef. (Photo: Jupiter Images)

The checkoff-funded CBI was started nationally in 2006. It measures changes in consumer perceptions of, and demand for, beef relative to other proteins; consumer impressions of beef that could be attributed to the industry’s communications and advertising efforts; areas of strength and vulnerability for beef sales, and market dimensions having an impact on national communication strategies.

Beginning in 2007, states were allowed to customize the index to determine how their consumers’ scores differ.

“The state or regional scoreboards enable state beef council boards to pinpoint their unique areas of strengths or vulnerabilities for beef within their own geographies,” said John Lundeen, senior executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “They also identify specific regional competitive challenges, while allowing each to tailor in-market communications strategies to the local culture.” 

The Washington State Beef Commission has participated in the CBI program since it began at the state level. Brumbach and her board rely heavily on the information it provides.

“We use it both as a benchmark and to evaluate our programs,” she said. “We use it so that we can understand how best to invest funds and to be accountable for what we set out to accomplish.”

Source: National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

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