Choose Corn-fed Beef for a Happy & Healthy New Year

Perhaps one of the positives from the COVID-19 pandemic is that more Americans are buying groceries, cooking and eating more meals at home as a family. According to an article from Kansas State University, 70% of U.S. households are now the central food preparation spot for 80% of meals. A year ago, that was the case in just 30% of homes.

At-Home Dining: No Reservations Required

Americans are learning how to cook with new ingredients, trying new recipes and even starting new hobbies, such as baking. While that doesn’t bode well for the restaurant industry, grocery stores have seen increased business. Customers are spending more money but less time shopping for groceries since online ordering is way up says Progressive Grocer and a study by Brick Meets Click.

“Add to Cart:” Online Grocery Shopping

Overall, 51% of consumers increased their online grocery shopping and 21% just started buying groceries online. Further, 70% of the total consumers surveyed plan to continue or increase online grocery shopping.

However, 56% of consumers would not buy fresh beef online. They prefer to pick out their own selection for desired freshness and quality.

Meeting Demand for Meat

According to Grocery Dive, meat sales from mid-March to mid-October were up nearly 30%, compared to last year. As of June 2020, retail stores have experienced significantly elevated beef demand, with dollar sales 14% higher and volume sales 8% higher than last year.

Consumer Beef Tracker data from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) reveals that 72% of consumers ate beef at least weekly in the first half of 2020, which is up 5% over 2019. In South Dakota, it's even higher, with 83% eating beef each week, says Samplify State Dashboard 2020 data.

Taste (84%), healthy choice (60%) and great source of protein (84%) are the top three considerations for South Dakota consumers when making a meal decision.

A Protein-Packed Powerhouse

For those of you looking for a high-quality, healthy protein source, look no further than beef. It’s nutrient-rich, with eight times more vitamin B12, six times more zinc and three times more iron than skinless chicken breast, according to the Beef Checkoff.

Packed with quality protein, healthy fat and essential vitamins and minerals, lean beef plays a key role in helping to maintain and build muscle. It can also help prevent iron-deficiency anemia and improve exercise performance. That fact may matter more to those who make the highly popular New Year’s resolution to get fit or lose weight.

“Beef is a high-quality protein containing all the essential amino acids the body needs to help with maintenance, repair and growth of lean muscle mass. On average, a 3-ounce serving of cooked beef provides approximately 175 calories, 10 essential nutrients and nearly 50 percent of the daily value for protein. Research also shows that exercise is more effective when paired with a higher-protein diet." – Holly Swee, South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) director of nutrition

Beef contributes less than 10% of saturated fat and total fat, and it accounts for less than 5% of total calories in the recommended American diet. More than two-thirds (69%) of beef sold at retail is labeled as “lean.”

Except for a brief supply interruption at the start of the pandemic due to shopper stockpiling and plant shutdowns—the good news is you have plenty of choices at your butcher’s meat counter or grocery store cooler. From ground beef and stew meat to roast, steak, ribs and brisket, your options for quality, affordable beef are plentiful.

Beyond the ever-popular yet somewhat seasonal grill, beef can be prepared in a number of ways, depending on the cut—from slow cookers and air fryers to stir fry, broiling, marinating, baking, barbecuing, smoking, and even sous vide. Cooking meat correctly for the cut will ensure optimal flavor and texture, as well as safety from foodborne illnesses when proper internal temperatures are reached.

Corn-fed Community: Support our State

Ag is our state’s leading industry with corn and beef accounting for a large portion of that economic boost. Out of the 752 million bushels of the corn grown here in South Dakota this year, 39 million bushels are fed to beef cattle raised in the state. That beef is processed into what you find on your grocery store shelves, at the butcher counter or served by a restaurant.

In South Dakota, nearly 14,000 beef producers raise 3.9 million head of cattle. That’s right, we have more cattle than people—nearly 4.4 beef animals for every resident! Just like the corn farmers in our state, the South Dakota cattle industry is primarily a family business with most operating for more than 25 years.

Ethanol is another major market for about half of all corn bushels grown in South Dakota. Dried distillers grains with solubles (or DDGS), a co-product of ethanol production, are a key component in beef and pork rations. With greater red meat exports, more bushels of corn and DDGS are fed to livestock, helping farmers in our state.

Buying corn-fed beef helps South Dakota’s ag industry support the supply chain from pasture to plate and farm to fork. Both the corn farmer and livestock rancher benefit from the corn-fed beef you choose to put on your table.

"The South Dakota Beef Industry Council is committed to instilling consumer confidence in our beef product as we know consumer choice will continue to drive demand. Beef research, education and promotional activities instill that confidence and provide impactful, long lasting programs that result in positive perceptions of beef. This in turn supports our local schools, communities and main street businesses.”– Suzy Geppert, South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) executive director

Corn-fed Beef: Desired Worldwide

U.S. corn- and grain-fed cattle become well-marbled cuts of beef that are highly desired worldwide for their juicy tenderness and rich flavor. According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF), 14.1% of U.S. beef is exported across the globe. Japan is our top customer, as we provided almost 47% of all their imported beef.

U.S. beef has had a record year in Taiwan and dominates its chilled beef market with a 76% share. Other customers include Mexico, Canada, Korea, China/Hong Kong, Africa and Central America. Over the past five years, beef and pork exports have grown by 28%.

Without red meat exports, South Dakota corn farmers would have lost $256 million in corn revenue in 2019. USMEF projects these exports to be worth $944 million to South Dakota corn over the coming decade and $309 million for DDGS. International demand through red meat exports added 46¢ per bushel to the price of corn in 2019 (USMEF).

Corn-Fed Beef: For Every Day & Holidays

Choose corn-fed beef to celebrate special holidays and family traditions. Ring in the new year with a flavorful meal like a prime rib roast in the oven or brisket on the smoker. Slow-cook some meatballs as a crowd-friendly appetizer or have a fun steak fondue night with family and friends.

With its variety of cuts and numerous preparation possibilities, beef offers you the flexibility to solve the age-old “what’s for dinner?” question whether it’s every day or a holiday.

The Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand is a highly visible consumer marketing effort of the Beef Checkoff Promotion program managed by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). A wealth of educational information can be found online, as well as an extensive library of recipes, includingprime rib roast, and holiday entertaining selections.

Get help planning your meals to include beef with Pinterest boards from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council.