THE launch of a new grass fed Hereford brand by Australia’s largest beef processor has been described as both a major turning point for the breed and another big step in the shift to consumer-driven beef production.
JBS Australia’s Hereford Boss will be underpinned by the company’s leading farm assurance program, which is about guaranteeing beef suppliers consistently meet required food safety and animal welfare standards.
The brand will meet impressive carcase and raising claims along with 100 per cent Hereford breed verification.
Prominent NSW breeder Adrian Spencer said the brand was the “best thing that has happened to the breed in my time.”
“To have the potential of our breed recognised by the biggest meat processor in the world - these are very exciting times,” he said.
Hereford Boss will sit alongside other Hereford brands, including Hereford True which is delivered by Thomas Foods International and the grain fed product Hereford Reserve from NH Foods.
Chief executive officer of Herefords Australia Dr Alex Ball said breeders were delighted with the extensive opportunity brands presented in the grassfed sector.
“This provides good scope for our breeders to do what they do best - produce high quality, consistent Hereford cattle,” he said.
Domestic food service and retail will be a key target for the new brand.
JBS sales manager southern Robert Ryan said initially the company would look to capital cities through its established supply chain linkages and across the likes of south east Asia and North America.
Mr Spencer said Hereford breeders would get behind the brand in force.
“JBS processing facilities are in the heart of Hereford territory in southern areas,” he said.
“There have been many attempts to get a branded product up and running but they’ve never had the degree of strength behind them that this one has.
“JBS are obviously looking for opportunities. There are a lot of black brands around and Herefords present a point of difference.
“Herefords grade Meat Standards Australia in the high 90s consistently. They’ve picked a breed they know will grade and will fatten on grass.
“And one that has a lot of history in Australia and a good following.
“This has potential to bring a lot of people back to Herefords.”
JBS Australia chief operating officer southern Sam McConnell, who launched the brand at an on-property bull sale at “Yarram Park” in Victoria this week, said the key to delivering a successful brand was to recognise customer and consumer demand and match it with an ability to supply a consistent product 52 weeks of the year.
“The growth in consumer demand for beef products that meet the key raising claims our farm assurance program guarantees is accelerating at a pace far greater than we ever expected,” he said.
“Consumers are willing to pay premiums for beef that is guaranteed to be grass fed for life, free of added hormones and absolutely never treated with any form of antibiotics, as well as numerous animal welfare and farm management practices.”
Mr McConnell said the growth in that category had been so strong it was almost what was simply expected within some market segments, so to bring the history, pedigree and well-regarded eating quality of the Hereford in as a value-add was something JBS saw as an important stride in continuing to develop a demand-driven branded beef marketing strategy.
JBS Australia livestock manager southern Steve Chapman said Herefords already constituted a significant portion of the farm assurance program and carcase data suggested the opportunity was there to market a Hereford brand.
He said Herefords yielded well, had excellent growth rates and had a great temperament to work with, which all contributed to a high eating quality and easily marketable finished product.
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