DENVER -- Buoyed by demand and undeterred by limited availability and high prices, beef sales recorded a 3.4% increase in dollar volume during the 2003 Summer Grilling campaign, sponsored by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and various state beef boards.
Drilling down into the numbers reveals that dollar volume for grilling cuts of beef grew at a higher rate -- 4.2% -- over a year ago, and a whopping 24% more than the increase experienced for total beef dollar volume.
Overall, beef grilling cuts dominated the product mix, representing 68% of all beef dollar sales, organizers said.
The 15-week promotion hit 33 markets, and included top retailers: Albertsons, Boise, Idaho; Kroger, Cincinnati; Safeway, Pleasanton, Calif.; and Harris Teeter, Mathews, N.C. These retailers participated in the program, and supported more than 160 value-added radio promotions. The promotions often featured live demos and personal appearances by chefs and cookout gurus. The effort incorporated all cuts of beef, including the chuck and round, but featured those most suitable for grilling.
The promotions took place in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco. The grilling campaign was started two years ago, and will continue in 2004, officials said.
Officials are aware that popular low-carb/high-protein diets helped boost demand for beef this summer. However, they noted that volume increased even with higher prices and tight supplies.
"The beef industry is huge with a lot of dynamics and work," said Randy Irion, NCBA's director of retail marketing services. "But it's safe to say the stars were all aligned this year for us."
Irion added that beef consumption peaks in summer anyway, and the grilling campaign emphasizes the enjoyment aspect of the summertime ritual.
"Our campaign goal was to drive the consumer to the meat case with a variety of promotional incentives," he said. This year, the campaign enlisted the support of A.1. Steak Sauce, Kingsford charcoal and E&J Gallo wines.
More than 22 million $1-off beef coupons were distributed via in-store coupon machines in conjunction with A.1. and E & J Gallo, while more than 110 million coupons were dropped for A.1. and Kingsford.