CHICAGO -- A retail veal promotion last fall brought in a $3 return for every dollar invested in the program, according to the veal committee of the Beef Industry Council here, organizers of the event.
The six-week promotion, at King Kullen Grocery Co., Westbury, N.Y., Acme Markets, Malvern, Pa., and Jewel Food Stores, Melrose Park, Ill., consisted of a $150,000 radio campaign and in-store demos to heighten awareness of the uses of veal.
The event centered on using the new industry slogan: "Veal. Discover the Special Choice." The selected chains operate in areas that have veal consumption rates that are higher than the national average.
The promotion also included cooking demos and retail point-of-purchase materials, such as rail strips and on-package recipe stickers.
Based on the success of the endeavor, the veal committee is planning a summer veal promotion focusing on grilling. It will start in June and also is set to run for six weeks.
Veal consumption rates have been softening over the past few years. Currently, national consumption is about 1 pound per capita. The veal committee is hoping to turn that trend around through a long-term marketing plan.
"As a whole, the program was successful," said the meat buyer for one of the chains participating in the promotion, who asked not to be identified. He said he feels there needs to be more of these types of promotions for veal because of the bad press veal has received in the past few years. His comments refer to publicity afforded animal rights activists who have been critical of the methods used to raise and slaughter calves.
Dean Conklin, vice president of veal programs for the Beef Industry Council, said the in-store demos proved to be a very successful element of the program.
He said the sales increases were achieved without a significant drop in the retail price of the veal. "We learned a long time ago that price is an issue, but it is also a value issue," he said.
According to Conklin, an additional 6,000 pounds of veal were sold during the six-week promotion above what is typically sold by the participating retailers. He declined to offer more specific details on movement for the individual participants.