Branded Beef: Where is the Market?

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 Consumer demand is constantly changing! This has forced producers to become more observant and better prepared to meet this changing demand. Shifts in the market place may lead to a new demand for certain products and the creation of unique business opportunities. Capitalizing on these new opportunities, such as branded beef, involves tracking consumer and business trends and ignoring passing fads.

While understanding market trends is key to developing a successful product, consistency must go hand in hand to ensure that consumer demand is continually met. Branding is about building consumer trust and confidence by providing desirable attributes in a high quality product, consistently, with the most effective use of your time and money. Branding is about making your beef known to as many potential customers as possible, about repeat business and word of mouth referrals. If the quality of branded beef is inconsistent, or if branding is based on an attribute of little importance to consumers then the brand will not work!

To ensure that the brand is in line with consumer demand, examine current and potential trends and develop products that best answer the needs of the consumer, both now and in the future.

Market Trends

Consumers drive market trends, which in turn largely influence the consumption of goods and services. These consumers should be viewed as potential customers. Therefore, you need to look at what customers are buying and how those products meet their needs. You also need to look at demographics such as age, gender, income, family size, marital status, education, geographic location, and occupation. For instance, we have an increasingly health conscious population aware of the link between diet and health. What do these people need / want? People’s needs change throughout their lifetime, so you need to tailor your product to reflect these changes. A trend worth noting is that some consumers want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised and how it arrived on their plate.

The following links provide background information on some market trends that may affect the purchasing behaviour of consumers.
  • Ipsos Reid Hot Food Trends and Consumer Purchase Behaviour - Ipsos Reid has produced a syndicated study, Hot Food Trends, which examines the purchasing behaviour of Canadian adults with respect to various food/beverage trends.
  • Consumer Purchasing Trends - Understanding consumer market behavior calls for more than simply tracking the latest trends. It requires a deeper understanding of why things happen, which forces drive the change and how shifts can represent new opportunities for business.
  • Power of Meat 2014 – A study that explored the perceptions, attributes and behaviors of 1,406 US Consumers regarding fresh and processed meat.
  • Canadian Halal Meat Market Study - The objective of the project is to qualify and quantify the market opportunities for Alberta meat producers and processors to supply halal meat within Canada.
Market Opportunities

After discovering who your customers are and the target market that they fall into, you should now be deciding on how you can best reach that customer base. For instance, people buy products from a variety of sources. Some may be more inclined to purchase direct from the producer at the farm gate or at a Farmer’s Market while others tend to frequent specialty food stores or larger chain retail stores. The challenge is to weigh the pros and cons of each marketing venue before deciding which one can best deliver your product and offer the greatest return on investment.

The following list of marketing opportunities may be good options for a branded beef program depending on the target market, size and philosophy of the program in question. These marketing opportunities are listed in a ‘scale up’ format, as it is often advisable to start small and build your business and marketing approach step by step.

Direct Marketing / Farm Gate
Farmers’ Markets Retail – Specialty vs. Large Store
  • Marketing: Will it Sell? - Ag-Alternatives is a series of factsheets designed to help you evaluate the feasibility of a new agricultural or rural based business. Worksheets in each factsheet help you personalize the information.
Other Marketing Information
  • Value Based Marketing of Cattle: More than Just Carcass Quality - Value-based marketing (VBM) is a management and marketing tool that rewards or penalizes cattle, based on carcass merits. This factsheet discusses opportunities for producers to capture greater economic rewards for using above average genetics.
  • Agricultural Marketing Manual - This Manual from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is not just for farm managers. It is also intended to assist agribusinesses that deal with farm managers, to better understand farm product marketing.

Other Documents in the Series

  Branded Beef: What is Branded Beef?
Branded Beef: Why Brand?
Branded Beef: Where is the Market? - Current Document
Branded Beef: What Makes a Brand?
Branded Beef: Who Is Branding Beef in Alberta?
Branded Beef: What Happens Behind The Brand?
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kathy Bosse.
This document is maintained by Ordella Knopf.
This information published to the web on May 20, 2008.
Last Reviewed/Revised on May 22, 2018.