The New, Ideal On-Pack Fresh Beef Label

The top five reasons to adopt new beef nomenclature and labels

Today’s consumer is confused about fresh meat cuts, and as a result, they tend to purchase only the three or four cuts they are most familiar with preparing at home. This presents huge marketing potential to drive meat department sales by helping shoppers become confident about the beef they purchase.

The Beef Checkoff conducted extensive research to:

  • Understand the gaps in consumer knowledge about fresh beef cut names - Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards, better known as URMIS
  • Determine the most effective ways to share information through a targeted redesign of on-pack labels

The findings led the industry to update the URMIS nomenclature and develop new labeling best practices to minimize consumer confusion and boost shopper confidence at the meat case.

Implement these changes to give your stores a competitive advantage and increase meat department sales:

  • 63% of consumers said they were likely to try a new cut of meat after being introduced to the new names and labels
  • 77% said they were likely to find and go to a store that had this program; 31% said they were very likely
Read on to learn about the challenges uncovered in the research and the resulting opportunities for retailers:

1. Consumers are confused by industry standard cut names.
2. Consumers want on-pack information to be easy-to-read and quick to understand.
3. Consumers lack confidence in choosing the right cut for different cooking methods.
4. Consumers want healthy and delicious recipe ideas and inspiration.
5. Inconsistencies across the industry are adding to consumers’ confusion.

Challenge: Consumers are confused by industry standard cut names.
Opportunity: Use the new common names for beef in your meat case

Consumers told us that meat cut names are lengthy, confusing and sometimes even unappealing. The new proposed nomenclature addresses these concerns by breaking the name into two parts for easy understanding: the Common Name and the Cut Characteristic.

New beef common names meet these criteria: 
  • List two components:
    1. Cut identifier or descriptor (Sirloin Tip, T-Bone, Tenderloin)
    2. Cut form or shape (Steak, Roast, Filet)
  • Eliminate redundancy
  • Use consumer-friendly and recognizable terms (Strip, Filet)
  • Short, concise and unique
    Beef characteristics are listed below the common name, and follow this simple format:          
  • Class/Specie
  • Primal or sub-primal
  • Bone state
  • Cutting standard

    Example of Current Labels
            New Proposed Labels

    Challenge: Consumers want on-pack information to be easy-to-read and quick to understand.
    Opportunity: Utilize less cluttered weigh label layout


    Today, retailers must appeal to busy shoppers and provide information in bite-sized pieces. Creating new common names was just a part of the solution.

    A new, less cluttered weigh label format simplifies consumers’ ability to identify fresh beef in the meat case. Innovative in-lab eye tracking research proved that the new label attracts more attention and retains shoppers’ gaze for longer than the previous layout. The colors below indicate the Fixation Count Heatmap (i.e. length of the consumer’s gaze)

    The cutting-edge eye-tracking research recorded consumer’s eye movements when viewing several meat package images on computer screens, and when shopping in stores. The recordings shed light on how the information on fresh meat packs was visually consumed during the decision making process.


    In the consumer eye-tracking research, the meat was usually noticed first....


    Challenge: Consumers lack confidence in how to select and prepare beef
    Opportunity: List easy-to-follow preparation instructions in an eye-catching position

    Shoppers are often wary of purchasing new cuts for fear of preparing them poorly. By listing the best preparation method on pack, retailers can instill consumer confidence and increase sales of less familiar cuts. The preparation method is now listed on the third line, an impactful location on the label.

    • 65% of participants who were exposed to third line content recalled it unaided.
    • 71% of participants said unprompted that the information on the 3rd line would be useful to them.

    Challenge: Consumers want recipe ideas.
    Opportunity: Encourage shoppers to select beef by including appealing on-pack recipe stickers

    Our research tested the use and position of on-pack recipe stickers in addition to the informational label.

    • 83% of participants remembered the recipe sticker and 63% mentioned it unprompted.
    • Most participants (63%) preferred the recipe sticker located diagonally across from the label.
    • When using a recipe sticker on pack, always include prepared meat photography, because research shows that it draws shoppers’ attention.

    Challenge: Inconsistencies across the industry are adding to consumers’ confusion.
    Opportunity: Implement simplified, consistent names for beef

    Everything consumers are exposed to, from cooking shows to ad circulars to on-pack nomenclature, use different names for the same cuts. This lack of consistency frustrates shoppers when they cannot find the cut their recipe calls for or that they ordered in a restaurant. Offering streamlined, consistent common names in stores will alleviate consumer confusion at the meat case and help them purchase beef more often.


    • Online quantitative survey, October 2010
      • An online quantitative survey was conducted of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers who are the primary shoppers, primary meal preparers, and frequently purchase and eat fresh beef completed the survey.
    • Focus groups, August 2011
      • Six focus groups were conducted in Bethesda, MD, Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA, with eight to 10 individuals per group.
      • One group in each market was conducted with younger meat consumers (21-49 years old) and one group with older consumers (50-69 years old). 
      • A total of 53 consumers participated in the focus group research.
    • One-on-one consumer interviews, April 2012 and June 2012
      • Consumers were screened and recruited to ensure they met the following criteria:
        • Must be frequent fresh beef consumers.
        • Primary food shopper and meal preparer or share the responsibility of shopping and cooking equally with a spouse or partner. 
        • Mix of demographic characteristics including age, gender, education, household size and household income.
        • Interested in learning more about different cuts of beef. 
    • In lab eye-tracking research, September 2012
    • In-store eye-tracking research, October 2012 
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