The outlook remains grim for the restaurant industry. Both fast casual and fine dining outlets are suffering through an extended period of slow customer traffic and analysts at Technomic predict that the industry overall may witness at least a 2% decline in overall revenues. But restaurant suppliers are still producing one item that is increasingly being marketed to new channels: USDA prime beef.
A recent Wall Street Journal report notes that only the top 1–3% of beef earns the sought-after USDA prime label. Historically, these finest cuts of beef were mostly available to restaurants or other exclusive outlets. But the drop in restaurant demand has suppliers hawking their products to butcher shops and supermarkets at more affordable prices.
Coincidentally, upscale cattle ranchers have been spending money to build their brands. Common marketing strategies include describing the grass-fed diet of the cattle and “humane ranching methods”. All of this turmoil in the beef industry points to new opportunities for agencies looking to expand their business in food marketing.[Source: McLaughlin, Katy. “Prime Time for Steak Lovers,” Wall Street Journal, 7/15/09]