Kids want quick, fast and easy. They want food right after school, while doing homework or before playing with friends – with one caveat – they don’t want to have to cook. Meanwhile, moms want nutritious food they can grab and serve on the go while multi-tasking through their daily lives. The beef checkoff has met these tough demands and introduced healthy, hand-held beef snacks for kids and moms.

The Beef Innovations Group (B.I.G.) has utilized checkoff dollars and responded to consumer demands by researching, creating, testing and bringing to market four new hand-held products:

Beef Snackwich: A self-contained bun stuffed with a beef and sauce filling. Sit and enjoy, or grab on the run.

Steak and Egg Breakfast Bites: Steak, egg and cheese in a potato crumb coating. It’s a bite-size, portable breakfast portion worth waking up for.

Breakfast Pancake Flip: Beef sausage, egg and cheese in a pancake. A breakfast consumers and kids will flip over.

Standing Beef Sandwich: A hollowed-out bun, turned upright and stuffed with beef and other ingredients. A spill-proof way to stand up above the rest.

“These new convenience products fulfill consumer needs, add value to the beef carcass and therefore benefit producers,” says Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Bill Ehrke, dairy producer from Fort Atkinson, WI, and member of the checkoff Joint New Product Committee. “As we continue to conduct valuable checkoff-funded research, we are able to bring more products to the market that meet the wants and needs of consumers and provide new alternatives for kids.”

The checkoff-funded new product process begins by generating as many breakthrough ideas as possible, paying particular attention to customers and consumers for unmet, unarticulated or under-met needs. External market and competitive trends are then analyzed and the newly generated ideas are filtered through qualitative and quantitative consumer research to bring the list of ideas to a more focused and on-target list of concepts to bring to life. Sensory testing provides direction for flavor, size and product interest – and the product goes to launch.

Of more than 100 concepts, 19 products were on the “chopping block” during the sensory phase. Four made their way through taste buds and testing by more than 200 consumers ages 5 to 18. Others, such as Mini Ribs and Mini Meatballs, are making their way back through testing. Lonestar Bakery has agreed to further develop the Snackwich and Brooks Food Group the Steak and Egg Breakfast Bites.

Be on the lookout for the Cheeseburger on a Stick and Mini Burger in 2008.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.