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    AHA Cert Gives Consumers Another Reason to Love Beef

    Three heart-healthy beef cuts make the grade

    The American Heart Association (AHA) has given the nod to three beef cuts that meet its criteria for extra lean as part of its food certification program, which helps healthy consumers identify foods that meet criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol when labeled with the association’s heart-check mark.

    The three beef cuts that are now certified to display the heart-check mark, include:
    - Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast (select grade)
    - Top Sirloin Filet (select grade)
    - Top Sirloin Kabob (select grade)

    “We are extremely thrilled to receive the American Heart Association certification because for consumers, it represents the independent voice of a trusted health organization,” says Margie Hande, a cow/calf operator from Amidon, N.D., and chair of the the Beef Checkoff Program’s retail committee. As an additional nutrition success point that signifies that a serving of extra lean beef can be part of an overall sensible eating plan, Hande added that the nutrients in lean beef, such as protein, iron and zinc, help people feel satisfied longer and get more nutrition from their calories without sacrificing taste.

    As one of the most trusted icons on food packaging today, the AHA’s heart-check mark strongly resonates with health-conscious shoppers, even in a challenging economy. In fact, more than 83 percent of consumers have an aided awareness of the heart-check mark and nearly 75 percent of primary grocery shoppers say the heart-check mark improves the likelihood that they’ll buy a product.

    With the new AHA certification, retailers will now be able to display the heart-check mark on fresh case beef packages to promote the health benefits of a serving of these particular beef cuts to their customers. The mark has been shown to influence sales by as much as 5 percent, according to the Beef Checkoff , whoseTrade Association Certification program simplifies a retailer’s processing and related costs to participate in the AHA’s heart-check mark program, such as certain fees waived as well as significant discounts to participate.

    In addition to the three newly certified AHA products, there are also many other popular beef cuts that meet government guidelines for lean for a single serving, including favorites such as Sirloin, Flank steak, Tenderloin, T-Bone steak and 95 percent lean Ground Beef. With more than 29 lean beef cuts, it’s easy to build great-tasting and healthy meals that include beef with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

    “Lean beef helps Americans build a healthy diet and manage their waistline because one 3 ounce serving provides ten essential nutrients for about 154 calories, helping you meet the new Dietary Guidelines,” says Cheryl Hendricks, a registered dietitian with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), which contracts to manage retail marketing efforts for The Beef Checkoff. “With today’s focus on obesity, lean beef is a solution that satisfies our appetites and provides more nutrients for fewer calories than many other foods.”

    For retailers, the checkoff-funded integrated promotions feature merchandising elements where it matters most -- the point of purchase. As part of the integrated promotions, there is a comprehensive campaign including on-pack labels, recipes and more to help drive awareness, traffic to lean beef cuts in the meat case and ultimately product sales.

    “Knowing that 99 percent of primary grocery shoppers think lowering saturated fat is important to managing overall health and wellness, we are pleased to be able to provide the three American Heart Association-certified beef cuts as another option in creating an overall sensible eating plan,” says Hendricks. Looking ahead, she adds, “We’re not stopping at just three cuts. We are in the process of obtaining certification for some of our other extra lean beef choices as well.”

    For more information, visit www.BeefRetail.org.

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