JBS Australia will launch a new Hereford breed-specific beef brand in January, under the company’s Great Southern Farm-Assured program.
The new Hereford Boss beef brand will carry all of the attributes of JBS’s Great Southern stable of grassfed brands, but with the addition of a breed identity.
About 20 percent of JBS Southern’s existing turnover in cattle for its grassfed, farm-assured Great Southern program are identified as 100 percent Hereford. Given that Great Southern is arguably Australia’s largest brand program accounting for between 3000 and 4000 cattle each week, depending on time of year, that suggests there is already a population of 600-800 head each week eligible for the new Hereford brand.
But JBS wants to expand that supply pool further, with new Hereford producer entrants to the Great Southern program, attracted by livestock premiums which have averaged 45c/kg during 2017. On a typical 250kg 0-4 tooth grassfed carcase, that is worth around $110 a head compared with equivalent non-farm assured, non-MSA cattle.
JBS’s only other breed-specific brands are Angus programs and a Shorthorn-specific brand program called Thousand Guineas, but they are grainfed programs, not covered by the company’s Great Southern grassfed farm assurance scheme.
The company has been closely monitoring carcase data on thousands of cattle carrying Hereford genetics already coming through its Great Southern program, before taking the decision to launch a Hereford breed-specific brand.
While there is already a plethora of ‘Angus’ and ‘Wagyu’ aligned beef brands in the marketplace, nobody has yet launched a Hereford brand, of any consequence in terms of volume. It is likely to provide a valuable point of difference and distinction when pitching the brand to customers on a steakhouse of pub bistro menu.
Food service target market
JBS personnel made the point that the eye muscle size out of Hereford cattle already coming through the Great Southern program was ideal for many food service applications, with some other breeds producing eye muscles bordering on being too big for what the typical food service customer can conveniently handle, when trying to portion-cut to a 300 gram or 350 gram steak serve.
For that reason, Hereford Boss will be pitched primarily at food service markets, in its initial stages at least. The program will be limited to 100pc Hereford genetics (no crossbreds), verified through stat decs on NVDs, and will need to come off a JBS farm-assured program property.
All other specs including weight, fatness, age, HGP status and other criteria will align with the standard Great Southern brand program requirements (click here to view).
While Hereford Boss has not been developed under any collaboration with Herefords Australia, the breed organisation has obviously given JBS’s project its ‘blessing,’ Beef Central was told.
The brand concept and imaging, pictured here, project the brand as modern, bright and breezy, innovative and fresh, and a long way from any ‘starchy, traditional’ imagery that Herefords might have been associated with in earlier times.
Processing at multiple sites addresses supply challenges
In the same strategy used by JBS southern for its broader Great Southern program, carcases being directed into the Hereford brand will be processed at Brooklyn (VIC), Scone (NSW) and Longford (Tasmania). Like any beef brand, particularly grassfed, security of supply is a critical factor, and JBS is overcoming this within its Great Southern program by networking its supply across three plants from a catchment area stretching into eastern South Australia, across Victoria and Tasmania, and all the way to Central and northern NSW.
Within that, Victoria is expected to be the primary supplier for the Hereford Boss program in its early stages.
JBS Southern chief executive Sam McConnell first foreshadowed the company’s new Hereford brand program six months ago, when opening the Yarram Park Herefords bull sale in Victoria.
First slaughter under the new Hereford Boss brand will take place in coming days, with boxed product being released into the market, after meeting MSA aging requirements, in early January. Originally the offering will focus on steak cuts, but is likely to include slow cook items like shortribs next winter.
Handling the product at wholesale level will be JBS’s domestic marketing affiliates, DR Johnston and Sydney portion-cutter Andrews Meats.
- For more information about Hereford Boss or the JBS Farm Assurance Program, click here.