For years, it seemed that every time I opened any popular consumer magazine, the health section would have an article beating up  on beef. However, it now seems nutritionists are starting to change their tune  regarding America’s favorite protein.
In SELF magazine’s “Superfood Of The Week” column  for Feb. 5, writer Sarah-Jane Bedwell says steak is the real deal.
Bedwell writes, “Jam-packed with important nutrients like protein, iron and zinc, steak can definitely be a healthy choice as long as you choose a lean cut. And with 29 lean cuts of beef out there to choose from, it shouldn't be hard to find one of this superfood that you enjoy. Wanna know what makes the beef so darn super? Check out its starring nutrients.”
The article goes on to describe the importance of iron, protein, zinc and B-vitamins. Looking for something positive to tweet about today? Check out some of these beef nutrition facts provided by SELF:
- One 3 oz. portion (approximately the size of your palm or iPhone) of lean beef provides 12% of your daily value -- three times the amount found in a cup of spinach!
- Lean beef provides 25 grams of protein per 3 oz. serving.
- One 3 oz. portion of beef provides a third of your daily value of zinc; you would have to eat 13, 3 oz. portions of salmon to get the same amount of zinc; crazy, right?
- Eating a serving of beef will add between 10-37% of the recommended daily value of B-vitamins, which give you energy and help build muscle mass.
I love days where I can blog about positive mainstream articles about beef or the cattle business. I truly think we are regaining lost ground when it comes to building consumer trust and confidence in our products. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
As the price of beef  continues to rise, put yourselves in the shoes of a consumer. A bag of skinless chicken breasts costs about $8 at my local grocery store. For a busy mom or college student, it’s easy to grab that bag and make several meals throughout the week. There’s no worry about how to cook it because the chicken takes on the taste of whatever you put on it. There’s no worry about tenderness or taste because it’s all the same; and if you burn it, it’s certainly not too much money down the drain.
On the flip side, beef comes in a wide range of prices, cuts and varieties. You can buy budget-friendly ground beef or boneless top sirloin steaks, or go for the more expensive bone-in ribeyes or prime rib. The consumer needs to decipher whether the cut should be grilled, roasted, marinated, put in a crockpot, cooked on high heat, low heat, etc. Then, there are many choices regarding marbling, brand labels and more. No wonder today’s consumer is confused and hesitant to purchase beef!
Our challenge isn’t to simply sell more beef , it’s to educate our consumers. And, the only way to do that is to put boots on the ground and get to work.
- Post a favorite recipe on Facebook or Twitter.
- Get involved with your local CattleWomen’s group; they often have in-store recipe demonstrations.
- Talk to your butcher at the grocery store to find out the most commonly asked questions at the meat counter.
- Lastly, be willing to put yourself out there to help explain that the versatility of beef isn’t something to be scared of -- it’s something to embrace and know that every day of the week doesn’t have to include a tasteless chicken breast doused in sauce.
From a slow-roasted chuck roast, to a seared New York strip steak, to juicy burgers, the possibilities are endless to include variety each and every day of the week when cooking with beef.
Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir here by talking about my enthusiasm for cooking with beef, but if there’s one thing I retained from being a National Beef Ambassador several years ago, it’s that our enthusiasm for our product is contagious. I hope you catch this enthusiasm and share it as well. Let’s really push our consumer outreach efforts during February’s “I Heart Beef” Month. Who’s with me?
Have you ever done an in-store demo or interacted directly with consumers about beef? What were they curious about? What did you learn from the experience? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section. Let's help each other out.