DENVER — The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, building on the success of its expanded roster of grilling and tailgate promotions in 2008, has scheduled a series of events that will span the entire year in 2009.
In previous years, NCBA has focused it promotional activity on the summer grilling season. Last year, however, it extended promotions through September with tailgate-party-related partnerships and events. The results? Sales of beef in pounds were 2.3% higher than for the same months in the previous year. Dollar sales were up 1.1%, even as average retail prices were down 1.1%.
“It proved to be a good investment for the Check-Off dollars,” said Randy Irion, director of channel marketing for NCBA, which contracts to manage retail programs for the Beef Check-Off Program.
Irion pointed specifically to the summer-long partnership that NCBA had struck with Kraft's A-1 Sauce and Anheuser-Busch.
“It was well received by the retail community, and the two companies we partnered with wanted to repeat it this year,” Irion said.
In the partnership brokered by NCBA, all three participants share expenses and labor to make the promotion work. Kraft A-1 is taking care of coupon redemption, and Anheuser-Busch has the responsibility for building displays. Beef Check-Off funds pay for point-of-sale artwork and coupon printing.
Irion emphasized that the decision to lengthen NCBA's promo season was a response to the success of last year's promotions and the addition of new participating partners, not a response to the current recession.
“We were aiming to extend promotions, probably through the whole year, even before the economic downturn,” Irion told SN last week.
New promotional partners in 2009 include Snyder's of Hanover Tortilla Chips, and Hormel brands Chi Chi's, Herdez and House of Tsang. There will also be a Healthy Beef Salad Promotion with Alberto-Culver's Mrs. Dash brand seasonings and California Cheese to promote healthy beef salads that are easy to prepare.
Again this year, most of the promos will involve a coupon, either attached to the product itself or displayed on a nearby tear-off pad, that can be immediately redeemed for $1 or $2 off a beef item when purchased along with the promoted product.
“We're also continuing our partnership with Sutter Home [wine]. Since 2004, we've been involved in their ‘Build a Better Burger’ program and contest,” Irion said.
“We get very good exposure with that, because the winner of the $50,000 prize is announced on the Food Network, and sometimes the winner is invited to appear on the ‘Today’ show.”
Last year, more than 5,000 retail locations participated, but the lengthened promotional season this year and the new partners involved are expected to spur more involvement.
“Not only will there be more promotions, but there could be multiple promotions going on at the same time at a store,” Irion said.
Meanwhile, FSI coupons featuring beef and NCBA's partners will be increased by more than tenfold this year. More information is available online at beefretail.org.
Increase in total pounds of beef sold in U.S. during NCBA promotional period in 2008 vs. 2007.
Source: National Cattlemen's Beef Association