THE beef industry is transforming rapidly from a commodity towards a plethora of brands, much like the wine industry, according to South Australian Cattle Co. Pty Ltd managing director Tim Burvill.
And the SA commercial Poll Hereford breeder, who has built a successful paddock-to-plate business, wants to ensure the whiteface breed is at the forefront of it.
This is the driving force behind Mr Burvill’s nomination for the upcoming Herefords Australia’s board elections.
He says the society’s branded beef, Hereford True, launched last year, is a great step forward.
But from many years experience in wine, beef and restaurant marketing, he knows maintaining brand momentum is much harder.
“When you launch a brand there is an initial media interest spike, but it is the next one to two years that are the most challenging in maintaining the media and public’s attention,” he said.
“There is some work to do in regards to this with the Hereford True brand, and I believe I have the relevant skills and expertise to offer.”
Mr Burvill, wife Sarah, and their Danish business partners, the Damgaard family, formed the South Australian Cattle Co in in 2007.
They run 300 Poll Hereford breeders at Lucindale with a portion of the progeny grown out on agistment.
They also opportunistically agist cattle in other areas depending on season, and have 170 poll hereford heifers on agistment in Armidale, NSW.
They have been putting their home-grown Hereford beef on the menu in their Adelaide restaurant, A Hereford Beefstouw, for the past five years after it is dry-aged at their Mount Barker facility.
Later this year they will open a second restaurant in Melbourne in the famed Flinders Lane precinct.
They have also extended the brand to offer A Hereford Beef in selected butchers and Foodland supermarkets across Adelaide.
“It seems the red meat industry is 20 years behind other industries where branding is paramount, but it is rapidly catching up with a huge number of new brands in the past five years coming onto the domestic market. We are in an incredibly exciting time and there is still huge changes to come,” he said.
He has high praise for the eating quality of Herefords but says the breed have been “ a bit slow off the mark” in being able to turn this into a successful branded product that benefits all Hereford producers.
“The Hereford breed has been quite good at promoting its traits at the production level, but there is some room to improve in creating more demand at the consumer end ,” he said.
“If we can succeed in this, it will flow down to increased demand from the abattoirs which will then flow down to sale yards.
“The end result would be higher prices for Hereford cattle and this is what I am focused on wanting to achieve for all Hereford producers.”
Mr Burvill believes a range of expertise from across the supply chain on the Board is critical to the breed’s future prosperity.
“Like any company or a sports team you need to constantly regenerate talent and bring the next generation through,” he said.
“I really believe we (the Hereford breed) need some fresh injection of blood at board level to facilitate the creation of new ideas and the development of new opportunities.”
He sees his social media marketing skills as another asset with A Hereford Beefstouw’s Facebook page having an incredible 31,000 followers.
“Everything is done on the internet these days, and social networking plays a significant role in deciding consumer trends,” he said.
“It just made sense for our business to concentrate our marketing efforts in this realm and we’ve been very pleased with the results.”
Nominations closed last Friday for four vacancies on the 12-member Board.
Voting forms will be sent out to members with voting closing on May 27.