PROVIDING a consistent, high-quality product that doesn’t get lost on the supermarket shelf or in the butcher’s fridge is the focus for Angus beef and its branding.
While each beef breed looks to differentiate itself from the next, they’re unlikely to match Angus, the breed that kicked it all off with Certified Australian Angus Beef became one of the country’s first branded beef products about 20 years ago.
The past two decades have seen a huge shift in consumer tastes, creating the need for more work on the end product, according to Angus Australia chief executive officer Peter Parnell.
“Branded products are dominating the high quality end of the beef industry and we’re seeing continual growth,” Mr Parnell said.
“What we’ve seen in the last five years is the development of most large processors having their own private Angus brands so we’re working with them to verify those brands as being Angus.”
The biggest market is still in export to China, Japan, Korea, South East Asia, Europe and the United States, and grass-fed beef is creating a following of its own.
“We’ve got very strong international demand for our Angus branded products which is marketed on the back of the clean green image of Australian beef.
”A good example is the Angus Pure brand processed by Thomas Foods International, and its primary destination is US supermarket chains. Grass-fed products are quite novel in the US because the majority of US brands are grain-fed, so grass-fed beef commands a premium.”
The Angus breed’s domination of the Australian beef industry means supply isn’t an issue, with producer numbers for branded beef on the rise.
“We’ve got long-term, reliable demand for Angus branded products and hence, a premium, for Angus cattle going into those programs, which gives producers a degree of certainty,” Mr Parnell said.
“If they’re going to invest in producing higher quality cattle, they need to know there’s a strong market for them.”
Angus Australia is shifting its focus to the beef supply chain with the appointment of Liz Pearson in a commercial development role six months ago.
It’s part of a big transformation for the breed society, which has concentrated on seedstock production for the past 98 years. Angus Australia has about 3800 members across Australia, with more than 2000 of them being commercial producers.
“Liz is working with feedlots and processors producing Angus brands and working out how we can get better linkages and communication of information from the processors back to the producers who are making the breeding decisions,” Mr Parnell said.