PIERRE- A recent announcement by the Beef Checkoff Program that three additional fresh beef cuts are now certified to display the American Heart Association's Heart-Check mark is good news for South Dakota's beef producers and consumers. Retailers now have the opportunity to market a total of six different extra-lean beef items to shoppers using one of the most trusted nutrition icons on food packaging today.
The American Heart Association (AHA) is a credible source of nutrition information and we are pleased to have their Heart-Check mark grace the package of three more beef cuts, says Holly Swee, RD, LN, the director of nutrition and consumer information for the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC). Based on strong science-based guidelines and criteria, the AHA's certification not only helps build consumer confidence, but also helps us better tell the story that lean beef offers a flavorful, low-calorie yet nutrient-rich protein choice to help people build healthful diets.
The extra-lean beef cuts that meet the American Heart Association's criteria for heart-healthy foods as part of an overall healthy dietary pattern, and are certified to display the Heart-Check mark, include the following USDA Select grade cuts: Sirloin Tip Steak, Bottom Round Steak, Top Sirloin Stir-Fry, Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast, Top Sirloin Filet, and Top Sirloin Kabob.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and leading health organizations, including the American Heart Association, recognize lean meat as a nutritious food. A single serving of lean beef has an average of only 150 calories yet is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients and provides nearly 50 percent of the Daily Value for protein.
That, says Swee, is a great message that can benefit not only consumers and beef producers, but retailers, as well. Hundreds of stores across the U.S. currently display the Heart-Check mark on certified beef items in the meat case and retailers can work with the Beef Checkoff Program to participate in the American Heart Association Food Certification Program to receive significant cost savings and promotional tools, including point-of-sales materials.
In fact, in-store sales data shows that nearly 75 percent of shoppers say the Heart-Check mark improves the likelihood that they'll buy a product and boosts incremental sales an average of 5 percent when point-of-sale materials are used to promote certified products.
Consumers are looking for healthful options, says Swee. By partnering with both the American Heart Association and retailers, the Beef Checkoff Program is helping beef producers spread the positive and healthy message of lean beef.