Beef Sales in the restaurant industry have not gone out to pasture. Despite rising costs on beef, 2013 showed record sales—both on volume and value. Beef remains a top protein choice with consumers according to the 2013 Usage and Volumetric Assessment of Beef in Foodservice Report conducted by Technomic. Despite the challenges to this commodity of draughts which contributed to higher feed prices and resulted in ranchers to decreasing their herd size, beef is on the menu to stay. The supply is lower, but consumer demand for quality beef has not waned, but has actually increased.
8 billion pounds of beef were sold in food service channels in 2013, a 79 million pound increase in volume from 2012. Beef growth has been higher than food service growth for the last 5 years.
As reported by Nation’s Restaurant News, 22 million pounds of growth came from ground beef, which is likely due to the growth of burger chains as well as new trends for burgers. Beef rib sales and steak sales each grew by 18 millions pounds, with the highest growth in steak cuts being sirloin steak. Full service restaurants continue to sell more than 50 per cent of the steaks, with sirloin being the fastest seller (a growth of 14 million pounds) and porterhouse, tenderloin, T-bone and rib eye steak holding steady in growth. Beef Food Service attributes the growth to the fact that restaurants added these cuts to their menus and promoted them.
According to Beef Food Service, emerging steaks (such as petite tender, flat iron steak, ranch steak and tri tip) saw a growth of 3.4 percent and emerging roasts (chuck eye roasts and petite tender roast) had a 20 percent increase.
What else accounts for this consistent growth in beef sales during a time of rising prices to that industry? Some say there are new trends in beef and new consumer trends that are contributors. According to Zagat.com some cities have seen a rise of steakhouses that appeal to urban hipsters in the millennial set, who have money to spend. Some steakhouses are also being geared towards women, with feminine décor and special events fashion shows being served up with the beef.
New cooking techniques for steaks may also be contributing to the popularity:
- Cooking which starts with a sous vide technique and finishes in a cast iron pan.
- Different beef parts are being offered such as oxtail croquettes, grilled beef heart and braised tripe.
- Offering steak cuts with an international flair (steak Florentine, South American steak, Japanese steaks cooked yakiniku-style,
- Specialty sauces for the steaks such as Malbec and citrus hollandaise, salsa criolla, Bordelaise sause, Cognac cream sauce, chimichurri sauce, ginger soy sauce to name a few favorites.
FarmDoc Daily, (Department of Agriculture and Economics, Univ. of IL, Urbana/Champaign) states that the high cattle prices coupled with feed costs that are finally beginning to drop are providing profit incentives to ranchers. Ranchers are working to rebuild their herds, but according to agricultural industry projections, this could take up until 2016 by projections.
One thing is certain, the U.S. appetite for beef appears to be steady and growing.
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