Broulim's Fresh Foods, Haggen Food & Pharmacy/TOP Foods, Harris Teeter Inc., and Safeway were awarded the National Retail Beef Backer awards at the 2012 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & NCBA Trade Show in Nashville. Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, this effort recognizes grocery establishments that are doing an outstanding job of marketing and merchandising beef in the meat case.

"The majority of beef sales in the United States depend on the commitment and dedication of supermarkets of all sizes," says Margie Hande, cow-calf operator in Amidon, N.D., and chair of the checkoff's Retail Committee. "For the fifth year we are able to say thank you to retailers that are blazing new trails in the meat case and making beef more accessible to their consumers both through checkoff-funded programs and their own innovative marketing and merchandising efforts."

Additionally, The 2011 National Foodservice Beef Backer Award winners were unveiled. Each year, the Beef Checkoff Program recognizes three foodservice establishments for their efforts in menuing and marketing beef. The 2011 national winners include the Little Apple Brewing Company in the Independent category, Zippy's Restaurants in the Chain category and Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort as the Innovator of the Year.

According to Iowa cattleman Scott McGregor, chairman of the Joint Foodservice Committee, "The annual Foodservice Beef Backer Awards are a chance to give recognition to hard working Americans behind the restaurants with the best beef programs in the nation. Every year we are in awe of the devotion restaurants have to their local cattle industry and their understanding of the versatility and value of beef on their menus. And this year was no exception."

The 2011 award winning Beef Backer retail programs

  • Independent Retailer – Broulim's Fresh Foods (7 stores): Recognized winner for the second year in a row, this progressive grocer based in Eastern Idaho is known for their high-quality beef selection and retail experience. Customers shopping at Broulim's can count on employees to have knowledgeable information on new beef cuts, recipes, safety, labeling and even the production process that goes into delivering a quality product. Their strong partnership with the Idaho Beef Council is demonstrated through use of checkoff-funded initiatives such as Summer Grilling Campaigns, Holiday Roast Campaigns, Beef Alternative Merchandising (BAM) and advertisements have positively changed the way their customers interact with beef to dramatically increase beef sales.

  • Mid-Size Retailer – Haggen (28 Stores): Based in Washington, this regional chain has built its brand on providing local products that represent the quality and integrity of the Pacific Northwest and marketing Northwest beef to customers, supporting local ranchers. In 2011, its team highlighted its commitment and focus on beef with the launch of its branded beef program, focused on the selling aspects of what drives beef usage and innovation at the case with new cuts and recipes. Through a partnership with the Beef Checkoff Program, the Washington State Beef Commission and their employees, Haggen has raised awareness of their high quality beef offerings and educated their consumers to its many nutritional benefits and extreme protein value through summer grilling and holiday roast campaigns.

  • Large Chain Retailer – Harris Teeter (206 Stores): For the fourth time, Harris Teeter is a nationally recognized beef backer known for the highest quality meat products with a commitment to superior service, value, innovation and safety. Through deep consumer research, Harris Teeter truly understands their customers' desires when considering beef purchases enabling them to blaze new trails in product labeling and point-of-sale merchandising. Year after year, Harris Teeter puts beef as a top priority in their advertising and marketing efforts. Fun promotions such as the "Friday Night Steak" initiative increased daily beef sales more than 80 percent.

  • Innovator of the Year – Safeway (1,694 Stores): This national retailer has built the largest beef brand in the marketplace, Ranchers Reserve. Utilizing market insights, sales trends and checkoff-funded advertising, training and promotions, it consistently delivers to the consumers' expectations with proven sales results. Safeway is recognized as a pioneer beef retailer that is committed to driving innovative marketing tactics, including new beef items like Beef Alternative Merchandising, Slice 'N Save, and marinated meats as well as seasonal promotions like the Mobile Grill.

An independent judging committee of retail industry professionals selected the winners based on submission criteria in variety of promotional partnerships, beef merchandising and education programs. The judges also took into consideration the retailers' support of beef checkoff-funded initiatives such as Beef Alternative Merchandising, Hispanic Marketing, Easy Fresh Cooking, Beef Training Camp, Summer Grilling and Holiday Roast promotions, in addition to store specific campaigns.

The 2011 award-winning foodservice beef programs are:

  • Independent Operator - Little Apple Brewing Company, a family-owned steak house in Manhattan, Kan. A staple in the community, Little Apple Brewing Company offers a delicious variety of steaks, burgers, salads and soups featuring new and traditional cuts of beef. Boasting an eclectic crowd from students and professors at Kansas State University to military personnel from Fort Riley, Little Apple Brewing Company has something for everyone. Kelly and Russ Loub and Lori Fink, co-owners of Little Apple Brewing Company, consider themselves partners and friends with the local cattle business and leverage their partnerships with the Kansas Beef Council and Certified Angus Beef LLC for promotional support and staff training.

  • Chain Operator - From President Obama to almost every resident of Hawaii has had a "Zippy's Experience." For 45 years, Zippy's has proudly supported its island community and most notably, the cattle industry of Hawaii. With 25 different locations across the island state, Zippy's is a community-oriented establishment committed to protecting the sustainability of Hawaii's beef industry by purchasing enough beef volume to keep the industry viable. Through intelligent use of beef and products, Chef Wayne Komamura developed a recipe that utilizes grassfed beef to replicate an old-fashioned kama'aina style homemade hamburger patty. This classic hamburger steak is one of their top 10 popular plates. Their acclaimed beef chili is most popular and is the best seller; in fact, over 200,000 pounds of Zippy's famous Chili is consumed every month. Other island favorites containing beef that caters to the palate of Hawaii residents are the Zippy's famous Oxtail Soup, Beef Stew and Teriyaki Beef.

  • Innovator of the Year - Home to eight distinct original restaurants and lounges, Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort is an epic destination in Idaho. By custom building a dry aging room at the resort and opting to fabricate its own steaks and grinds on-site, Coeur d'Alene offers an extremely high value to their customers matched with reasonable prices. Chef Adam Hegsted's philosophy of innovation through simplicity results in mouthwatering beef menu options at all price tiers - from the steakhouse to the cafe and buffets. Signature items such as the Wagyu Burger with braised oxtail marmalade, a Charcuterie Platter with cured beef tongue and the Cedar Plank Porterhouse that is flamed and carved at the table - embody the ultimate dining experience that only beef can deliver.

All winners were awarded a trophy and will be given unique marketing access to promote their restaurants as nationally acclaimed beef backers throughout 2012.

Source: Beef Checkoff