Previous charts have provided some coverage on branded beef programs noting that: “The U.S. beef industry has undergone some significant changes during the past 10 years. One of the most important aspects of that transition has included an increased focus on meeting consumer preferences  across a variety of attributes.”
That particular coverage focused on the specific increase in the proportion of branded  beef sales over time. Much of that has been driven by increased differentiation in the marketplace and the sharp rise in the number of certified programs – especially in recent years. That is, consumer markets are increasingly demanding specified-type product; correspondingly, the industry has increased its efforts to meet that demand.
Certified Angus Beef (CAB), initiated in 1978, holds the distinction as the first USDA-certified beef program. Over the next 20 years, only 10 additional programs were established. However, in the 14 years since then, 129 new programs have been introduced! This trend clearly has important implications for the beef industry going forward. Most significantly, it points to ever-increasing marketing differentiation. That ultimately means more committed and intensively managed supply chains requiring specific genetics, management and marketing schemes  to participate.
That has important implications for the industry. Will the number of certified programs, and the corresponding shift away from commodity sales , plateau in the future? Or do the upward trends signify even more growth in the years ahead? How do you see this playing out in the future? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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