The three beef cuts that met the American Heart Association's criteria for extra lean, and are now certified to display the heart-check mark are:
• Boneless Top Sirloin Petite Roast (select grade)
• Top Sirloin Filet (select grade)
• Top Sirloin Kabob (select grade)
The American Heart Association established the heart-check mark in 1995 to give consumers an easy, reliable system for identifying heart-healthy foods as a first step in building a sensible eating plan. Approximately 800 products that bear the heart-check mark have been screened and verified by the association to meet criteria for saturated fat and cholesterol.
"We are thrilled to receive the American Heart Association certification because, for consumers, it represents the independent voice of a trusted health organization," says Margie Hand, a cow/calf operator from Amidon, ND, and chair of the checkoff retail committee. "The Beef Checkoff Program has added another nutrition success point to its growing roster to show that a serving of extra lean beef can be part of an overall sensible eating plan. 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."
According to the Beef Checkoff Program, the heart-check mark is the one of the most trusted icons on food packaging today-and it continues to resonate with health-conscious shoppers, even in a challenging economy. 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, according to a 2009 American Heart Association study.
This certification allows retailers to display the heart-check mark on fresh case beef packages; promoting 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 2009 American Heart Association research.
In addition to the three products certified by the American Heart Association, many popular beef cuts meet government guidelines for lean for a single serving, including Sirloin, Flank steak, Tenderloin, T-Bone steak and 95 percent lean Ground Beef.
"Lean beef helps Americans build a healthy diet and manage their waistline because one 3-oz serving provides 10 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, which contracts to manage retail marketing efforts for the Beef Checkoff Program. "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 forward, 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."
Source: Beef Checkoff Program