On Friday, I spotted my first bluebonnets of the season. I’d left the house to make an essential errand run — to pick up more beef to put in the freezer before the shelter-in-place order took effect in Wichita County.
I’ve always loved the state flower in all its brightly colored, short-lived glory, but the blanket of blue along Highway 287 made a more powerful statement this time. Because when I saw them, it reminded me: life was still going on out there.
Despite all the cancelled events, the school and church closures, and bans on gathering with family and friends, the world was still turning. There are some things you just can’t postpone.
It’s the same on ranches. Baby calves are being born. There’s work that needs to be done. And now more than ever, you need to know the hunger for beef is — and will be — there.
This morning, I visited with Richard Wortham and Rachel Chou from the Texas Beef Council to see how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting how the organization keeps beef at the center of the plate.
They say like you, your Checkoff dollars are still hard at work.
“We know ranchers across Texas and the nation are experiencing challenging times and unprecedented market changes,” Richard says. “In these uncertain times, our staff remains focused on our goal of promoting beef and increasing demand even as we shift our focus to reach consumers where they are with content that is most needed.”
A few of those shifts include:
- The Easter campaign, usually highlighted by the ever-elegant prime rib, will now focus on options that are simple and readily available like pot roast, spaghetti and meatballs, and other ground beef options.
- Creating new topics for TV cooking segments to be more relevant to what people need right now. Dishes that are comforting, include a few simple ingredients or those that are freezer- or leftover- friendly are top choices.
- Paid and social communication for Beef Loving Texans, Beef Loving Texans Registered Dietitians and Beef Team is shifting from celebrations, entertaining a crowd, and group activities to focusing on freezer meals, comfort foods, leftovers, cooking at home and ground beef.
- Because consumers are cooking more at home, the council is promoting its new recipe generator feature on the website. It allows users to search recipes by ingredient making it easy to find recipe ideas with ingredients that are already on hand.
But how do they decide what to change, and what to leave alone? Rachel explains.
“Because consumer needs have dramatically changed over the last several weeks, we’ve used digital insights and search data to inform our promotional and content decisions,” she says. “Consumers are looking for more cook-at-home recipes, freezer-friendly meals, traditional favorites, and ground beef information. We’ve shifted our focus to help answer today’s consumer questions and adapt to the evolving consumer content needs.”
Katrina Huffstutler is the executive director of communications for Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.