Beef demand makes comeback from 1998 lows

Beef demand had quite the journey over the last two decades.

In the late 1990s, consumer research audits revealed that 25 percent of steaks served were a disappointment. The beef industry had flooded the market with select cuts and it left the general public wanting something more.

The desire for beef among the average consumer in the U.S. fell by more than half from 1980 to a low in 1998. The trend caused producers to reevaluate.

CattleFax CEO Randy Block says that the industry had no choice but to listen: “We were loosing producers right and left. Again, no body was making any money... we weren’t getting rewarded for the products that we were producing because, quite frankly, we weren’t doing a good job producing product... we weren’t accountable. We weren’t listening to our consumer.”

As feedback rolled in, genetic research took the spotlight and black hided cattle was selected for premium traits. According to Certified Angus Beef, by the year 2000, 48 percent of cattle in licensed plants had a black hide and as of recent, 100,000 animals are certified into the brand per week.