With the Super Bowl coming up at the end of the week, The National Provisioner editorial staff thought it would be fun (and valuable) to reach out to the National Beef Cattlemen’s Association (NCBA) to get some perspective on beef trends you might see in the game-watching party atmosphere. What follows are thoughts from Dave Zino, Executive Chef for the Beef Checkoff, on how beef is a contender in the minds of football fans across the country.
Q: When it comes to tailgating, burgers are up there along with chicken wings and sausages, bratwurst and the like — do you see that same popularity translate into Super Bowl-watching parties as well? Or is there another use of beef that rises up for the “big game”?
Dave Zino, Executive Chef for the Beef Checkoff: Beef will always be part of the big game. If we can get consumers to think of beef as an ingredient, the possibilities are endless, especially with ground beef which can be used in quesadillas, nachos, pizza and of course, chili.
Q: In general, it seems that appetizer-style “finger foods”, which don’t require much of an attention span to eat, are most popular at these types of parties (as opposed to, say, a steak that might need to be cut and such) — what cuts and dishes lead the way for beef, and are they easy enough for processors to develop and market to consumers this time of year?
Zino: Beef brings many finger food opportunities to any Super Bowl spread, from meatballs to sandwiches which can be made using almost any beef product you’re selling and marketing. There are many fun out-of-the-box ways to serve beef that I’ve seen be a success at parties and large functions such as steak guacamole. Guacamole is a big game favorite, so let’s think about adding steak. In fact, here’s a quick video you could share with your customers to get them thinking outside the box for steak appetizers. Another dish that’s easy to consume in front of the TV or prepare for a large group is a beef sundae. Check out recipes here but basically it’s sliced steak or ground beef, served in ice cream dishes along with mashed potatoes, cheese with a cherry tomato on the top. Any beef cut can be used for this dish.
Q: For beef processors who haven’t done so, it’s too late this year, but for next year’s “Football Holiday”, how can they prepare and/or take advantage of the bump in parties and popularity of meat and poultry foods that this weekend brings?
Zino: We know Americans have a passion for beef year round, and are looking for convenient meal solutions. I’d suggest that processors continue to look to commodity boards like the Beef Checkoff who are filled with ideas and resources based on the latest consumer trends and needs. I also encourage you to partner with your customers to understand their initiatives and goals for the year to find timely activities to promote beef and partner on in-store and online shopper communications to drive sales and demand for beef year round.