SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS –Four retailers have been recognized by the beef checkoff-funded 2009 Retail Beef Backer Awards for their commitment to outstanding beef marketing and merchandising programs: Sendik’s Food Markets, Southern Family Markets, Harris Teeter Supermarkets and Supervalu Inc. Presentations are being made at the 2010 Cattle Industry Annual Convention & Trade Show.

“The Retail Beef Backer Awards highlight the exceptional work retailers do throughout the year to increase beef demand,” said Jim Henger, executive director of marketing for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (N.C.B.A.), which contracts to manage retail programs for the beef checkoff. “This program is one way beef producers show their appreciation to retailers for their efforts to support our industry.”

Here are more details on the four award winners:

• Large chain retailer -- Harris Teeter Supermarkets (194 stores), based in Matthews, N.C.

• Mid-size retailer -- Southern Family Markets (66 stores), based in Birmingham, Ala.

• Independent retailer -- Sendik’s Food Markets (eight stores), based in Whitefish Bay, Wis.

• Innovator of the Year -- Supervalu Inc. (2,500 stores), based in Eden Prairie, Minn., for its launch of their Stockman & Dakota branded beef line.

According to N.C.B.A., Retail Beef Backer Award winners are selected based on their excellent merchandising of beef at the meat case. A third-party judging panel also considered the retailers’ tie-ins with beef checkoff-funded initiatives such as Middle Meat Mania, Beef Alternative Merchandising, Hispanic Marketing, Easy Fresh Cooking, Beef Training Camp and Summer Grilling promotions.

Applicants are also judged on non-beef checkoff-funded beef promotions focusing on increasing beef demand among their customers. Such programs include outstanding beef promotions, co-marketing promotions and customer education programs.