Denver, Colo. - Demand for beef continues to show strength, according to preliminary Beef Demand Index figures and other research. The preliminary figures show that demand increased 6.17 percent during the third quarter of 2000, as compared to the third quarter of 1999.

Other research confirms the positive news for beef. According to Cattle-Fax consumer expenditures on beef are expected to surpass $53 billion in 2000 – the first time ever that annual expenditures for beef have exceeded $50 billion. Total beef expenditures were about $49.4 billion in 1999.

An illustration of how beef is starting to recapture the attention of consumers can be found in the sales of new, prepared beef items. Since the industry began its checkoff-funded focus on new heat-and-serve beef products in January 1999, weekly sales of these kinds of products have increased by more than 131 percent, as of Sept. 23, 2000. Thirty-one manufacturers introduced 50 new prepared beef items during the year ending Sept. 23.

"These statistics are further evidence that our beef checkoff programs are on the right track," says Les McNeill, a beef producer from Panhandle, Texas, and chairman of the Beef Board. " Over the past two years, beef demand has turned around after a 20-year slide, with consumers buying beef at steady to slightly higher prices despite record-high beef supplies. While the checkoff isn't responsible for the entire turnaround for beef, it certainly is acting as a catalyst for positive change in the industry."

Beef industry demand-building efforts are funded by beef producers through their $1-per-head checkoff program and are managed domestically for the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. The national beef checkoff is administered by the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board. This 110-member board is appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to oversee the collection of the $1-per-head checkoff, certify state beef councils, implement the provisions of the Federal Order establishing the checkoff and evaluate the effectiveness of checkoff programs.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association