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Does brand name matter when buying ground beef? Consumers say yes!

Does brand name matter when buying ground beef? Consumers say yes!
Branding and product awareness have large effects on consumer perception of ground beef palatability. What are the implications for cattle producers?

Perception really does matter. At least that’s the conclusion following research that indicates consumers rate ground beef products more favorably when they’re aware of the brand and/or differentiation ahead of time.  

Researchers asked consumers to evaluate different ground beef products in two separate tests. The first round involved serving ground beef, in random order, to consumers who evaluated samples with no prior identification of the brand or product type (blind evaluation).

Meanwhile, the second round provided product information to the consumer panel ahead of time; the panel evaluated the products (again, in random order) knowing product type and brand prior to the evaluation (non-blind evaluation).   

The graph highlights the “overall like” ratings of various products in the blind vs. non-blind evaluation, categorized by the difference across the two evaluations. Interesting to note, the difference increases between evaluations as relative product value increases. In other words, knowing brand and/or differentiation ahead of time matters more for a high-end product such as a 90/10 CAB ground sirloin, versus a lower-end product like an 80/20 commodity ground chuck.  


The researchers note that, “These data indicate few palatability differences among ground beef treatments when tested blind…However, when product and brand were identified, multiple treatments received increased ratings for palatability traits. Therefore, branding and product awareness have large effects on consumer perception of ground beef palatability.”

The research possesses some important inferences with respect to branding and marketing in the meat case. What’s your perception of the importance of differentiation in the marketplace? Given this research, does the industry need to evolve even further with respect to branding? Will this type of research lead to further studies associated with consumer perception of beef? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Nevil Speer is based in Bowling Green, Ky., and serves as vice president of U.S. operations for AgriClear, Inc. – a wholly-owned subsidiary of TMX Group Limited. The views and opinions of the author expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TMX Group Limited and Natural Gas Exchange Inc.

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