By: Kylee Kohls
Percentages and pounds are the typical success metrics following closing the books on a fiscal year, but passion is what Certified Angus Beef President John Stika identifies as the differentiator for the brand.
“This brand was built one pound at a time, one partner at a time, and we value them all, because it takes a community to move this brand forward and to make it work for everybody,” Stika says.
Both beef demand and Certified Angus Beef brand acceptance rates are at all-time highs, creating a formula for record-setting success.
The second highest sales year on record, global sales totaled 1.215 billion pounds to end the 2021 fiscal year. Up 3.4 percent or 40 million pounds from 2020, this is the sixth consecutive year the brand surpassed one billion pounds of sales across 54 countries.
“There are a lot of exciting and optimistic things when we look at the success and progress our partners have had this year,” says John Stika, Certified Angus Beef president. “Demand doesn’t solve all the problems we currently have in the beef industry, but it does underpin the foundation of success and recovery that many are experiencing in their business right now.”
Bringing home the beef
A stabilizing anchor for brand sales, retail proved extremely steady sales year-round. Shoppers looked for quality in the grocery store and kept cooking at home, even as pandemic mandates lifted.
Licensed partners held on to most of last year’s record-setting 602 million pounds, closing 2021 at 600 million pounds of sales.
“As we saw the foodservice and hospitality sector begin to open up, we were hoping the pent-up demand we had heard so much about would materialize. And it has,” Stika says. “Demand is strong for high-quality beef.”
Beef demand sits at a three-decade high, according to CattleFax.
Finishing the year with a 13.3 percent recovery, domestic foodservice brand partners recovered 43 percent of the 100 million pounds forfeited during the pandemic.
Canada and Japan remain at the top of international sales, playing a large role in the 7.8 percent year-over-year increase. The next four largest markets—South Korea, Mexico, Taiwan and Hong Kong—grew by an average of 10.6 percent last year, helping reclaim international business.
“We have continued to be extremely optimistic and believe that sales outside of the U.S. will only continue to grow and become healthier moving forward,” Stika says.
Value-added-product sales grew 23.5 percent in 2021, setting a record of 38.3 million pounds. Smoked brisket, fajita meat and fresh corned beef were a few of the top sellers as people looked for labor- and cost-saving solutions. July took the top spot with 4 million pounds of value-added products sold.
Adding to the record-setting year, Certified Angus Beef ® brand Prime sales reached 37.3 million pounds for the first time, a 14.8 percent increase in 2021.
“Prime is a progressive growth opportunity as we continue to see quality resonate with more and more consumers domestically and around the globe,” Stika says.
Better beef, better cattle
Growth in demand requires more Angus cattle raised to the highest standards and cattlemen stepped up to the plate.
A record 36.8 percent of all Angus-influenced cattle met the brand’s 10 standards.
“Every segment of our business has had its share of challenges,” Stika says. “Angus farmers and ranchers continue to respond to the call of customers.”
In an evolving landscape, Stika shares optimism with partners for continued growth and recovery in all sectors of the beef business.
“Continue to send the signal for quality,” he says. “I’m confident that farmers and ranchers who target the Certified Angus Beef brand will respond.”
Looking forward to 2022, he says he expects the brand to only get better, one pound at a time.