Labelling Beef Nutrition Leads to Increased Sales

US - While many consumers are aware that beef is a great source of protein, most are unaware it contains many other beneficial nutrients.
calendar icon 7 August 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

With the goal of determining how best to educate consumers on beef’s nutritional value, a checkoff-funded study on nutrition labeling was conducted.

In the first phase, consumer focus groups were conducted to determine opinions about the current nutrition info on beef products. The results show consumers want more info on beef’s nutritional content than what’s currently found in most supermarkets.

More than 25 per cent of participants said they frequently read meat nutrition labels and use the info in purchase decisions. Consumers also expressed confusion when 0 per cent Daily Values appeared on the nutrition label. They would prefer a label on beef products that lists the Daily Value of only those nutrients found in beef. In addition, the respondents would prefer to see labels on the front of the package while still maintaining a clear view of the meat.

To explore the premise that consumer perceptions about beef’s health benefits could be positively impacted by a comprehensive labeling and point-of-sale retail program, an in-store test was conducted. The goals were to:

  • Educate consumers on the benefits of beef.
  • Work with retailers to launch an on-pack nutrition-labeling program that lists the key nutrients found in beef, including zinc, protein, iron and B-vitamins.
  • Provide retailers with additional supporting nutrition-education materials including point-of-sale signage and media support.
  • Analyze results to see if and how consumer perceptions and sales were impacted.

To save space on the front of the package, the nutrition facts label was integrated into the scale label, and only nutrients contained in beef were included. To conserve label space, those micronutrients mandated by the government to be included on the Nutrition Facts Label but not found in beef were listed at the bottom of the label prefaced with a “Not a significant source” statement.

In addition to the nutrition adjustments, key callouts were included on labels and many point-of-sale materials. The callouts include the following:

  • Beef, a good source of zinc, iron, protein and many B-vitamins.
  • Zinc helps fight colds and maintains a healthy immune system.
  • Iron is important to your children’s mental development.
  • Protein acts as a building block for muscles, which helps your metabolism.
  • Many B-vitamins help turn your food into energy.

    The results of this four-month test proved to be significant for consumer attitudes. Before the in-store test was conducted, only 7 per cent of respondents believed the nutrition information available in the store positively impacted their perception of the healthiness of beef. After the in-store test, that number increased to 52 per cent. These results show that a multi-faceted nutrition campaign with nutrition labels and POS can significantly improve consumer attitudes about the healthiness of beef.

    This research suggests there is significant potential to increase value by providing more nutrition info on fresh beef products. The nutrition label provides not only a great business and marketing opportunity for retailers, but also positive beef nutrition education for consumers, which in turn can stimulate purchases.

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