Industry Analyst Looks At 20 Year Evolution Of Beef Demand

Randy Blach, CEO of Cattlefax, said demand for beef has come a long way in the past 20 years. He was a featured speaker during the recent Feeding Quality Forum sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef program. Blach noted the low in beef demand was basically 1998-2000.

“This was the low watermark in beef demand. Look what percentage of our product was select or lower. Again, we were approaching 40%. And if you go back to the quality audits of that time period, one out of four steaks was a disappointment. Well, it’s now wonder that consumers were walking away from our product, they didn’t like it.”

Blach said the cattle industry got the message and started to move towards more black-hided cattle. In the mid 1990’s, 35% of the cattle being black-hide steer/heifer slaughtered to a number that’s up in here the last several years between 65%-70%.

Another area that saw improvements, genetics.

“The second thing was genetics. Putting more high-quality genetics in these animals where we had a higher predictability of what they would produce and we started to focus on grids to where we had an opportunity that we could get paid for more of the quality attributes that we were putting into those cattle.”

Blach said that demand growth has been worth anywhere from $225 to $280 per head, and consumers want more and are willing to pay for it.

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