Beef Markets

Wendy's Love Letter to Beef Producers

Virginia H. Harris , Progressive Farmer Associate Editor
Carl Loredo, Wendy's vice president of marketing, spoke with DTN about the company's focus on fresh beef. (Photo courtesy of Wendy's)

Fresh, never frozen, North American beef. That's Wendy's mantra. The fast-food chain may not be exclusive with beef, but the company sure makes its preference known. DTN had a recent sit-down with vice president of marketing, Carl Loredo to hear about their efforts to prioritize beef.

"The biggest focus for us this year is our fresh North American beef," Loredo said. "There was this realization we have been talking about our fresh beef, since 1969, but we weren't so sure consumers were hearing us." There was a big opportunity to talk about that because it makes a difference in terms of how the hamburgers taste.

"We're gaining ground on two fronts. The first in terms of what consumers know and what we've seen in terms of overall business," he explained.

Wendy's launched an advertising campaign in March last year focusing on fresh beef. From television commercials to their Twitter feed, the company blanketed their messaging with beef. Not to mention, the company aired a Super Bowl commercial for the first time in fifty years on February 8th. In January, a Twitter conversation went viral and showed there are still ways to continue the conversation about Wendy's commitment to fresh beef, Loredo said.

The company's 2016 preliminary fourth quarter report showed 1.6% same-restaurant sales growth for all of 2016, and 150 restaurant openings worldwide.

Part of the campaign touting their fresh beef obsession included attending the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Cattle Industry Convention in 2016 and 2017.

"The cattlemen and cattlewomen that are a part of this organization are super important to us at Wendy's; at the end of the day we serve the product they produce," Loredo said. "I think for folks to see all the way to end of the supply chain and see what their beef turns into is a good reminder of how this whole cycle works."

Being in touch with producers helps the company in communicating with consumers as well. Loredo highlighted transparency and sustainability as two main concerns Wendy's hears from consumers.

"I think the idea of so fresh it never has to be frozen helps people understand, 'Oh I guess it must be from somewhere around here,'" Loredo said.

He also pointed out Wendy's partnership with NCBA in incorporating the organization's Beef Quality Assurance protocols into the company's supply chain as a way to ensure transparency toward consumers and sustainable beef production.

(AG)