Will beef ever be COOL again?


May 7, 2019

Today, Planet Fitness flexes its muscles and nurses get new options, but first…
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Why does the ‘Product of the USA’ label mean so much to cattle ranchers?

A group of American small-business cattle ranchers called the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) is lobbying its tail off to change America’s beef-labeling laws.

Labeling laws have caused small ranchers to lock horns with major meatpackers for years, and now R-CALF hopes to take advantage of the current era of “America First” tariffs to get what they want.

Beef labeling used to be COOL

The beef battle began in 2008 when Congress required “Country of Origin Labeling” (COOL) for all beef products.

This was a problem for many mega-size meatpackers, who had to pay big bucks to separate their multinational meat. So, they lobbied for a labeling loophole — and, in 2016, succeeded in repealing COOL laws.

After COOL was repealed, beef from cows raised in other countries became a “Product of the USA” as long as it is processed in the USA. Today, 70% of grass-fed beef in the US is imported, but much of it is labeled “Product of the USA.”

The decline of ’Merican meat

The 4 largest global beef packers — who benefit from COOL because it enables them to sell cheap beef as marked-up meat — control 85% of the market, up from 25% in 1977. 

But on the flipside of that burger, things are harder than ever for small ranchers: 17k US cattle ranchers have gone out of business every year since 1980, and in the past 5 years US beef-makers’ grass-fed market share has fallen from 60% to 15%.

Mini Meat has got beef with Big Burger

Although the White House has passed a number of “America First” tariffs, R-CALF faces an uphill battle — and it’s unlikely that COOL will come back any time soon. 

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) — which has a political action committee, unlike R-CALF — spent millions to open up the labeling loophole and will spend millions more to prevent it from closing.

Cattle ranchers be beefin’
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No scrubs? Nursing hiring startup raises $20m

Trusted Health, an online hiring platform for nurses, raised $20m to improve its existing tools and increase the number and type of positions available on its platform.  

The market for nurses is under the weather

The US is in the midst of a new nursing shortage: The country will need 203k new registered nurses every year through 2026 to replace retiring nurses and fill new positions. 

States like Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California — where growing populations are aging — will see some of the highest demand, Moody’s reports.

But rural hospitals have trouble attracting job candidates because there are fewer specialization or advancement opportunities for nurses. 

Matching nurses according to their interests 

Enter: Trusted Health. The company, which is headed by two Hired.com veterans, matches nurses with temporary, staff, and travel positions, based on users’ priorities like salary or location. 

Trusted hopes to help nurses — who, like many other healthcare workers, are often burned out and depressed — access new opportunities without sacrificing precious benefits or job security.

In the 2 years since Trusted Health launched, about 1k new nurses have joined the company’s platform weekly. In its first quarter, users viewed 246k nursing jobs on the platform.

» Nursing the nurses
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What does Portland Trail Blazer’s star Damian Lillard and Marketo have in common? 

For starters, they both get results in the clutch. 

If you’ve been living under a rock (or you don’t care about ‘sportsball’), Damian Lillard’s 3-point bucket in game 5 of Trail Blazers-Thunder playoff game was a shining moment in NBA history. 

He nailed a dagger as time expired to advance the Trail Blazers to the quarterfinals. 

It was clutch, it was magnificent, it was… well, kind of like marketing with Marketo — the same engagement platform the Trail Blazers organization uses. 

The MVP of the marketing department

Just take a peek at these stats from the Trail Blazers home office: 

  • Open rates for season ticket renewals peaked at 96%
  • Single ticket sales grew by 30% 
  • And the team averaged a 45% open rate 

So, on to the obvious question: Who’s the real season MVP? 

Marketo’s engagement platform helps organizations like the Trail Blazers amplify their message at any scale and turn fans into fanatics. Think of it as the industry’s most complete marketing toolkit with the products, services, and insight you need to engage your customers. 

Click below to download the Trail Blazers case study — by the end, you’ll be silently chanting “MVP” in the office. 

“MVP, MVP, MVP” →

Planet Fitness flexes hard by moving into old Toys ‘R’ Us and Sears stores

Planet Fitness is looking pretty huge after putting in so many hours at the gym: Earlier this week, the fitness chain announced plans to move into vacant Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us locations as part of a nationwide expansion.

Other retailers are shriveling up, but Planet Fitness is pumping iron

Retailers including Sears and Toys ‘R’ Us have announced 6k+ US store closures this year.

But Planet Fitness is expanding its retail footprint: The company has 1.8k gyms across the US, 60% more than 3 years ago. 

It plans to open another 225 gyms this year.

Six-pack abs are not yet available on Amazon Prime

Biceps aren’t the only things growing: Shares of Planet Fitness have increased 400% over the past 4 years.

Consumers can buy nearly anything from the comfort of a couch. But investors believe gyms can still bring butts into buildings: Gym memberships have increased 37% since 2008 — even though 80% of Americans still don’t belong to a gym.

Planet Fitness has posted 12 straight years of sales growth at gyms open for at least 1 year and plans to expand its network to 4k gyms.

» When the store Fits

Most US restaurant workers make far below the national median salary

Next time you find yourself questioning how much to tip your waiter, chew on this.

Business Insider recently combed restaurant worker data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics program and found that all but 3 common food industry jobs make less than the median US salary of $38.6k.

The American restaurant industry employs some 10.7m people, and the average worker in this pool earns just $22,590 — more than 40% less than the national median wage.

To make matters worse, these workers are often taken advantage of by their employers: The Department of Labor has cited that 84% of restaurants violate labor standards and engage in wage theft.

As one activist told Eater, “The poorest workers in America are being stolen from the most.”

Food for thought
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