BREED PROMOTION: Herefords Australia’s John McKew said branding was fundamentally important for the breed’s long-term sustainability and profitability, differentiating it in the market.RED meat consumers will soon have greater choice, with Hereford branded beef products set to appear on the menu in restaurants and hotels, on supermarket shelves and in butcher shops.
After nearly two years of planning and significant financial investment by Herefords Australia, it is close to launching two brands – Hereford True Beef and Hereford Classic Beef – which have been trademarked and registered.
Its focus will be on the eastern seaboard with a launch to wholesalers, retailers, chefs, restaurants and food media set for the first half of the year in Sydney.
It will then be progressively rolled out to Brisbane and Melbourne markets.
Hereford True Beef will be the flagship brand – destined for the high-end food service sector including restaurants and hotels, while Hereford Classic Beef will be the volume, mainstream brand.
The two associated brands – which will accept steers and heifers – will be processed by Atron Enterprises, Casino, NSW.
Herefords Australia chief executive officer John McKew said branding was fundamentally important for the breed’s long-term sustainability and profitability.
“We needed a presence in the red meat market because it is what we do – we produce beef,” he said.
“If we can get a presence in the minds of consumers and get them to associate good eating quality with Herefords then we can create increased demand for Hereford genetics and grow market share.
“That benefits our members by creating more demand for Hereford steers and heifers, and consequently more demand for Hereford bulls.
“For producers with black Angus herds it is another marketing option. They can look at putting a Hereford bull with a couple of hundred Angus cows and selling black baldies into the Hereford Classic Beef brand.”
The Angus breed has been hugely successful with its branding programs but Mr McKew says it is time for some real, quality competition.
He believes there is scope for a wider range of beef brands, particularly at retail level.
“When you walk into the toothpaste aisle of a supermarket there is a great range to select from but if you go to the beef cabinet there is not an overabundance of brands,” he said.
“There is tremendous support for brands by consumers but there is only a smattering of brands for Angus, Wagyu and some regional provincial brands.”
Market research showed the highly successful Angus brands have become ubiquitous and the food industry was looking for an alternative.
“Everyone knows Angus but they want something new, fresh and different and that will be Hereford,” Mr McKew said.
He was highly confident Hereford cattle had the eating quality needed to make the brands a hit with consumers.
“The specifications have been very carefully considered and constructed about this to make sure Hereford True Beef and Hereford Classic Beef is very high quality. It will all be underpinned by MSA grading,” he said.
He was confident supply would come, with four producer workshops being held in NSW this week to outline the program and encourage Hereford and Hereford-cross breeders to register their interest.
Mr McKew was also conscious of the need to find a southern Australian processing option to complement Atron’s northern footprint, and hoped this would occur within the year.
No specific volume targets have been set for the first year of operation but Mr McKew said his short-term vision was for the two brands to become the pre-eminent beef brands in Australia.
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