Veal: Making veal easier
Today’s veal is high in protein, low in fat and easy to prepare. That’s the message delivered to consumers seeking recipes and other information about delicious, nutritious veal on the new Beef Checkoff-funded veal consumer Web site, www.vealmadeeasy.com. From nutritional information to factoids about veal, consumers interested in learning how to make veal dishes at home have been using vealmadeeasy.com to access information and register to win the Veal Summer Grilling Grocery Giveaway â€” a summer Web site promotion that ended Sept. 15. Indeed, 236,955 entries were received via the site by consumers nationwide hoping to win free groceries for a year. More than 10 retail chains and 800 stores signed on to support the Veal Summer Grilling Grocery Giveaway.
A similar sweepstakes ran at the time of the site’s launch in late January 2009. The winner, a consumer from Ohio, received a $5,000 gift certificate from Kroger.
In addition to the consumer outreach effort, a targeted foodservice and retail initiative to stimulate sales in high-volume consumption markets such as New York, Philadelphia and other major cities has been underway. The initiative is designed to work closely with packers and veal marketing partners for support. In 2009, the initiative has attracted six foodservice partners in the casual-theme restaurant market who have developed new or limited veal menu items to bring veal’s versatile message to a non-traditional group of veal consumers. In addition, numerous national and regional retail partners have joined forces to promote veal in-store.
While U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates show that veal production is down 1 percent from January to June 2009 from the same period one year earlier, veal producers continue to move toward meeting an industry-wide commitment to transition to group housing. Indeed, the American Veal Association (AVA) estimates that 30 percent of the calves on the market are raised in a group setting.
In 2007, the AVA Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution calling for an industry-wide transition to group housing by 2017. Current estimates show veal producers are ahead of schedule in meeting the transition deadline. However, nationwide economic and financial conditions are expected to make it more challenging for producers to secure the necessary capital to make the transition in the short-term.