Beef producers are teaming up with Taco Bell once again to help meet consumers' continuing demand for steak in restaurants. The focus of the partnership is to promote the new Taco Bell Steak Quesadilla(tm).

During the Jan. 26 to March 9 promotion, Taco Bell will focus on moving millions of pounds of steak through most of its 6,300 participating restaurants nationwide. Within the beef industry, this promotional program is being coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board (CBB) and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

The beef industry partnered with Taco Bell in 2001 to help move more than 27 million pounds of steak through Grilled Steak Taco and Steak Grilled Stuft Burrito promotions. As with those promotions, state beef councils are being encouraged to partner with Taco Bell at the state level on creative support for the new Steak Quesadilla.

"It's exciting to work with Taco Bell to help boost a new steak product, especially after our great successes together in 2001," said Bartow, Florida beef producer Sid Sumner, vice chair of the CBB/NCBA Joint Food Service Committee. "In this partnership, everybody wins - consumer demand for beef is met, a great tasting steak product is being promoted for Taco Bell, and beef producers through their checkoff are boosting beef sales."

The Steak Quesadilla will be a permanent menu item at Taco Bell, and the newest steak product. It is filled with 1.5 ounces of steak, two ounces of a three-cheese blend, and half an ounce of Cheesy Jalapeno Sauce. It is then grilled to melt the cheese and crisp the tortilla.

"We really have a 'stake' in satisfying consumer demand for beef," said Jeff Fox, vice president of national marketing for Taco Bell Corp. "This is revealed in the Taco Bell slogan for the promotion: 'Winners Eat Steak.' We are also letting people know that they can 'upgrade to steak' at Taco Bell. Steak is part of an important strategy for us in providing top quality products for consumers on-the-go."

As part of the partnership, the "Beef Check" logo will appear on Steak Quesadilla promotional materials. A television commercial is being planned that will exclusively feature the Steak Quesadilla.

"Our experience working with Taco Bell in 2001 showed that a focused strategy of partnering with high-volume restaurant chains is an efficient use of checkoff dollars and an effective way to achieve the goals set in our Long Range Plan," said Sumner.