CAAB brand draws to close, as company-backed beef brands mature

Beef Central, 05/02/2018

IN recognition of the evolution of company-based branded beef programs in Australia, the well-known Certified Australian Angus Beef brand program has drawn to a close, having fulfilled its commercial purpose.

The Certified Australian Angus Beef agreement with licensed processor, Thomas Foods International came to an end on 31 December, marking the end of an era in the Australian beef industry, and signifying the maturation of the growth of Angus beef brands in Australia.

In a statement issued to its membership and the broader beef industry, Angus Australia chief executive Dr Peter Parnell said the CAAB brand had left an important legacy for the Australian beef industry and provided the blueprint and inspiration for the development of numerous proprietary Angus brands in the supply chain.

The CAAB brand was launched in 1999 after several years of development and testing. Under the guidance of inaugural chairman Michael Pointer and a board of passionate Angus breeders, the brand was developed by Angus Australia to provide a mechanism to assure the beef supply chain that beef sold as Angus was truly Angus and of the highest quality. The program was one of the first to be underpinned by Meat Standards Australia grading, and it attracted widespread support in the quality end of the food service and retail sectors, both within Australia and overseas.

Over the next 15 years, several processors took licences to produce and market CAAB product under the strict guidelines and specifications associated with the brand. These included Cargill Australia (and it successor, the Teys Cargill Joint Venture), Stockyard Beef and more recently Thomas Foods International.

Refocus on quality assurance verification

“During this period, most major beef processors in Australia also commenced the development of their own proprietary Angus brands,” Mr Parnell said. “Consequently, the focus of Certified Angus Group Pty Ltd and Angus Australia has moved from being a brand owner itself, to being a quality assurance verifier of proprietary Angus brands for various processors in the industry,” he said.

Coinciding with the wind-up of CAAB, the ISO9001-certified brand verification activities previously conducted by Certified Angus Group Pty Ltd has now been fully integrated into Angus Australia’s Commercial Supply Chain program, under the management of commercial supply chain manager, Liz Pearson.

Michael Pointer

“The Angus Brand Verification program is already working, with a number of major processors in the industry using the facility to verify their Angus production,” Dr Parnell said. “The Angus Brand Verification Program is providing independent Angus brand verification for numerous proprietary Angus-aligned brands.”

Participating brands undergo independent breed content verification by Angus Australia, and the list of participating brands was expected to grow significantly over the next 12 months, Dr Parnell said.

“Our market research indicates that the notion of independent brand verification, conducted directly by the

Phil Morley

organisation that represents Angus breeders, has significant appeal for domestic and international consumers of Angus beef,” he said.

In marking the conclusion of the CAAB brand licence, Dr Parnell paid tribute to the directors and staff responsible for the management of the CAAB brand over the past 30 years, including previous company CEOs Michael Pointer, Phil Morley and Kate Brabin; and acknowledged the significant support given to the brand by various individuals and companies spanning the entire red meat supply chain.

“Those individuals and the organisations who contributed to the success of the CAAB brand over the past 20 years have left an important legacy for the industry

Kate Brabin

through providing the blueprint for the production of quality assured and independently verified high quality beef production,” Dr Parnell said.


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  1. Alan Hoppe, 13/02/2018

    I echo the disappointment expressed by other commentators. In the mid 2000s I was working for ICM Agribusiness, a business owned by Doug Shears, arguably one of Australia’s most successful agribusiness investors with a strong track record in building profitable brand based businesses like Uncle Tobys and Berri fruit juice. We made an offer to buy a share of the CAAB brand and proposed to provide the increased expenditure needed to grow this successful brand into its full potential. Unfortunately, those running the Angus Society then, and now, saw a different future.

  2. David Everist, 09/02/2018

    The end was nigh for CAAB when the Angus Society moved the brand in house 12 months ago. They cannot even get it right as to when the brand was launched 1995 not 1999. In its peak CAAB sales topped $100 million dollars and product had exclusive rights into leading export market sectors. CAAB was accepted by McDonalds due to stringent trace back protocols and to this day a line of Four and Twenty pies are labelled Angus. It is a disgrace that a great brand has gone to earth and those who bought about its demise should be ashamed. The Angus society should relinquish any claims to trademark and corporate structure and attract a new owner.
    There is a vacuum in the market for a product such as CAAB, as there was prior to 1995.

  3. SUSAN CHISHOLM, 06/02/2018

    Dissapointing to hear the result after all the work Michael Pointer put into the CAAB brand. We had great fun entertaining buyers from Japan and China. I can remember how they loved going through the creek on the back of the truck! I do wish Kate, Michael and Phil my best wishes and thanks for putting high quality Angus meat on shelf for our customeers.

  4. Bert Mann, 06/02/2018

    Since going to TFI this brand became totally insignificant and irrelevant in the market. Such a shame, was a great product when packed at Cargill.

  5. Sandy Maconochie, 05/02/2018

    Sad conclusion. CAAB started out as a brand a couple of years after our family’s brand “Hopkins River”, and provided considerable opposition for a number of years albeit being “certified” with >51%. Angus content. Nonetheless losing its independence to processor brands lacks real producer/providence content. First Hereford Prime now CAAB. Looks like now “Processor Angus” etc.

  6. John Gunthorpe, 05/02/2018

    It is disappointing to hear that the Angus Australia directors have decided to throw in the towel on CAAB. Michael Pointer made a great contribution to the development of beef branding by working closely with chefs and those at the coal face seeking consistent quality of beef products for their customers.

    In the USA, certified angus beef (CAB) is growing new brands and growing sales. This past year they sold over a million pounds of CAB product – an increase of 10.4% on the prior year. The company will celebrate 40 years in business this year. They have the foresight to develop partnerships with Angus producers and deliver their production to the market. This strategy mirrors that of Michael Pointer when developing the CAAB brand.

    There must be value in the CAAB brand. Did the Angus Australia board consider selling the brand to extract value if this activity was no longer to their liking? Walking away suggests they did not see any value.
    Australian Cattle Industry Council

  7. Alice Greenup, 05/02/2018

    A great achievement. All should be very proud.

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