ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Stakeholders in the Certified Angus Beef (CAB) program gathered in Asheville, North Carolina, for the brand’s national conference and to celebrate what has been an outstanding year for Certified Angus Beef.

CAB President John Stika said 2019 represents the 15th consecutive year of growth and the 13th record sales year in a row as global sales of CAB products will exceed 1.254 billion lbs. this year, growing by 3.6 percent. Stika said licensed packers certified 5.6 million CAB carcasses in the past year.

“That represents an 8.7 percent increase in supply, or an additional 450,000 carcasses,” Stika noted. He added that a record 35 percent of all Angus cattle that were processed went on to meet the CAB specifications for quality.

“That 35 percent is significant because it doesn’t happen by random chance,” Stika said. “That 35 percent represents an entire community of Angus farmers, ranchers and cattle feeders being extremely intentional over several years in the way they breed, raise and care for their cattle with a focus on quality.”

John Stika, Certified Angus Beef (CAB) President

The beef industry has seen a $60 billion increase in annual consumer expenditures on beef since the demand low of 1998. Stika credited higher quality beef such as CAB cuts that attracted consumer demand. “The combination of relatively manageable prices and strong demand has allowed many of you to grow your businesses with Certified Angus Beef over the past 12 months,” he said.

The growth is evident — CAB set monthly sales records in nine of 12 months this past year. Six separate months exceeded 104.5 billion lbs., which ranks among the top 10 sales months in the history of the brand. CAB went four years without a down month.

“It’s probably no surprise that we experienced growth and set sales records this past year in virtually every product category that we tracked,” Stika said. “End meats, middle meats, ground meat — all three experienced significant growth.”

Value-added processors increased their business by 13 percent and exceeded 30 million lbs. in sales for the first time. Extensions of the CAB brand also contributed to overall growth.

“In particular, our Certified Prime continued its rapid growth rate, jumping by 36 percent this year alone,” Stika said. “That’s the equivalent of just under 10 million lbs. of growth in tonnage.” The growth in CAB Prime tonnage represented more than 20 percent of overall growth CAB experienced as a brand, Stika added.

Retail, foodservice and international markets also were key performers for the CAB brand.

“Building off their record year last year, our retail partners grew for the fourth year in a row — this year growing their businesses by 9.3 percent and achieving an all-time sales record in volume at just under 540 million lbs.,” Stika reported. “Today, retail represents roughly 43 percent of our overall business.”

In the foodservice segment, which represents one third of CAB business, proved to be the most consistent source of growth for the brand.

“We saw sales in foodservice distribution increase 4.6 percent this year,” Stika said. “We saw sales from licensed distributors to licensed restaurants — those who are promoting the brand actively on their menus — increased by an additional 10 percent over the prior year.”

And sales of the brand outside of the United States were the best yet, according to Stika. “After two years of consecutive growth in excess of 20 percent, our brand partners around the world found a way to set an all-time high of 209 million lbs. of growth this past year.”

Japan is a top destination for CAB products, while smaller markets such as Colombia, Dominican Republic and Taiwan continue to contribute to CAB results.

“It truly has been an outstanding year for the brand,” Stika said.