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 emphasis has given rise to a large number of branded programs to meet that demand, a reality illustrated by the graph below. It depicts branded-product boxed beef sales (the USDA designation includes both lower and upper Choice) in proportion of total wholesale beef volume.
The relative share of branded sales was relatively flat for about six years (2003 through 2008). However, the relative proportion of branded product in the marketplace has steadily grown in recent years (even in the face of the financial crisis). Sales volume established a new mark in August (15%) and the running average is nearly double that of just a few years ago.
That has important implications for the industry. The primary question within that discussion revolves around tightening beef supplies. As such, will the industry trend plateau and/or even reverse in the near future? Or does the current trend signify even more growth in the years ahead? And if there is growth, does that mean increasingly committed supply chains to source product for these programs? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.