Driving Beef Sales Through E-Commerce

| April 25, 2023

As consumers continue to turn to online ordering for their grocery shopping needs, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor of the Beef Checkoff, is partnering with national retailers and foodservice operators to encourage consumers to put more beef in their baskets and on their plates. 

64% of consumers say they are ordering groceries online, with 44% of consumers including fresh beef in those grocery orders. When it comes to foodservice, online ordering has become overwhelmingly popular, with 80% of consumers saying they order meals online and 70% using online ordering for burgers.1

To ensure that beef’s positive message is reaching existing customers as well as new online buyers, NCBA and the Beef Checkoff partner with national grocery retailers for e-commerce efforts. Ads inspire consumers to purchase beef throughout the year. In addition, beef is front and center with consumers ordering meals online through e-commerce campaigns with restaurants, food delivery services and foodservice distributors. 

Digital ads capture consumers’ attention through attractive beef photography showcasing seasonally relevant cuts and the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. logo. Retail ads do not contain coupons but merely inspire consumers to add beef to their cart – either digitally or in-store. The ads are placed on the retailer’s website and app, as well as placed on popular lifestyle sites and occasionally a retailer’s social platforms such as Pinterest.

For foodservice campaigns, ads are created to highlight limited time beef offers. Beef Checkoff funds are utilized only for advertising, and any offers or discounts are 100% funded by the foodservice partner. The food delivery service and restaurant partners track sales data to show how beef sales increased over the course of the campaign. 

One of the biggest advantages of e-commerce promotions is the ability to show actual sales and results. A recent “back to school” e-commerce campaign with a national mass merchandiser promoted beef through digital ads, both on the retailer’s website as well as popular consumer lifestyle sites that led back to the retailer’s beef landing page. The nearly two-month promotion resulted in $11.6 million in incremental beef sales, 30.5 million ad impressions and a return on ad spend of $49. That means that for every one Checkoff dollar spent on the campaign, $49 was returned in incremental beef sales. 

In addition, a December 2022 holiday e-commerce campaign with a national mass merchandiser promoted beef through digital ads. The promotion resulted in $4 million in incremental beef sales, 37.8 million ad impressions and a return on ad spend of $13.45. Twelve state beef councils and the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative provided additional funding to increase ad exposure within their states. 

A foodservice promotion with Uber Eats and a national burger chain resulted in a 200% increase in burger orders the week of the promotion, and an impressive 10% increase in beef sales. A partnership with a broadline foodservice distributor served consumers and foodservice operators beef ads online during their ordering process, and the two-month campaign drove an increase of 32% in cases of beef sold. 

E-commerce promotions go beyond national campaigns. State beef councils also have the opportunity to partner with NCBA to increase digital ad placements within their states or in major media markets. More than 20 states have contributed funds to participate in retail e-commerce efforts over the past year.

Overall, e-commerce efforts continue to drive beef sales. Partnerships with national supermarket chains, mass merchandisers and club stores resulted in more than $30 million in incremental beef sales in the past year. 

“We’re excited about the positive impact our e-commerce efforts have on beef sales,” said Jill Rittenberg, senior executive director of B2B engagement at NCBA. “We are looking forward to executing new and innovative campaigns in the coming months.”

1State of the Consumer Survey, August 2022