Supermarket Superteam How TBC and H-E-B Work Together to Bolster Beef Demand the Texas Way
TBC’s nutrition and health program area exists to better communicate the value of beef’s unique nutrient profile, effectively positioning beef as part of a healthy diet. The goal of the program is to educate and equip health influencers and nutrition professionals with evidence-based content to help dispel misinformation, so they feel confident in recommending that consumers eat beef as part of a balanced diet.
And where better to help the traditional Texas consumer see beef as part of a healthy diet than one of the most beloved supermarket chains across the state? H-E-B.
With 400 stores nationwide (that net $26.5 billion in sales) – and over 350 of those stores in Texas alone – H-E-B supermarkets’ popularity and spread offer the perfect proving grounds for TBC to connect with the Texas shoppers on a major level.
The partnership will last three months, from January to March of 2021, in an effort to capitalize on health-conscious New Year’s resolutions.
“It’s a coordinated effort that entails education sessions for the H-E-B registered dietitian (RD) team, cobranded nutrition education materials shared with RD patients, and a retail coupon promotion to showcase beef's role in healthy dietary patterns,” said TBC’s nutrition and health manager, Hannah Fuerniss.
More than 40 RDs are on staff throughout H-E-B supermarkets. And when you include the pharmacists and other health-focused employees, that number continues to rise. The dietitians interact with H-E-B customers on a daily basis, providing nutrition counseling, group classes and other outreach. But as TBC began planning this partnership, Hannah heard one request stand out among the rest.
“Research from the NCBA [a contractor to the Beef Checkoff] shows that three of the top five reasons that people choose to eat less beef are health related,” Fuerniss said. “So, we wanted to provide the dietitian team with practical ways they can share about how to include beef in a healthy diet.”
Lucky for them, that’s what TBC’s nutrition and health program does best.
TBC will provide this staff with the latest research and information in the form of handouts and digital resources. While beef information is, of course, top priority, these resources have been created with complementary foods in mind so they can be versatile enough to ensure the staff can provide educated, well-rounded advice.
To fortify RDs knowledge of the materials, TBC will also be hosting two, one-hour education sessions. The first was in early December and offered a deeper dive into beef than just nutrition.
“One of the topics the RDs mentioned they wanted to know more about is beef production because more and more customers are asking about it,” Fuerniss said. “So, for instance, in the first session we talked about how today’s beef is leaner because of changes in production practices and trimming. A lot of people are surprised and impressed that the industry has adapted to nutrition needs.”
“We'll also bring in components of sustainable diets,” Fuerniss continued, “showing them an overall picture of how beef fits in a sustainable and healthy diet for their population, which is obviously many people across Texas, it's incredibly diverse.”
The second session will be held during the three-month partnership. With direct feedback from the attendees from the first session, TBC is confident they can make this second session even stronger, more engaging and more impactful for the RDs.
But TBC has one more promotional trick up its sleeve to get beef in customers’ buggies – the good ol’ coupon.
“The coupon promotion ties it all together,” Fuerniss said. “It provides that practical way for them to see how to pair nutrient-rich foods together like beef and fruits and vegetables, to create healthy meals.”
From addressing direct concerns dietitians have about beef so they can be confident in their beef-inclusive recommendations to empowering Texans to lead healthier lives by helping them save on nutritious beef pairings, TBC and H-E-B are working hard to ensure beef always has a place in the consumer’s cart.