Retail Foodservice

Chuck the AI Virtual Assistant Seeks to Boost Beef Sales

Photograph courtesy of Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.

There’s a new customer service expert available to help retailers boost sales at the meat counter, and he works for free.

Not only that, but he also has a wealth of information about beef cuts and recipes, is available 24/7 and even has a sense of humor.

Chuck Knows Beef is the virtual creation of the Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. campaign, and he’s coming to life after several months of training (actually, machine learning), ready to help consumers expand their interest in beef. By doing so, he’ll also be trying to help retailers grow their meat department sales, build bigger baskets and drive customer loyalty.

Chuck is a virtual assistant that consumers can interact with in a variety of ways. He’s got his own website——available on both desktop and mobile devices, as well as connected home devices with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Research shows that the opportunity exists for retailers to increase revenues in the meat department by educating their customers about different cuts of meat and how to prepare them. The 2018 Power of Meat Study found that 83% of shoppers purchase only a few different cuts of meat, but 42% would expand the variety of cuts they purchase if they had more knowledge.[1]

The availability of the Chuck Knows Beef virtual assistant comes as consumers increasingly turn to digital channels for information. Consumers have been spending more and more time consuming digital media—5.9 hours per day on average in 2017, and more than half of that is spent on a mobile device.[2]

Although retailers might have highly knowledgeable staff of their own behind the counter, that doesn’t necessarily mean that customers will approach them with questions. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly reliant on digital sources of information as part of their shopping journeys. Gen Z shoppers do more shopping-related activities on smartphones than other generations—70% check prices while in a store (compared to 59% of shoppers overall) and 66% read product reviews in a store (compared to 52% overall).[3]

Voice-based interactions are also emerging as a tool for consumer research. ComScore predicts that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice-based[4] and Voicebot reports more than 40% of smart speaker users use them in the kitchen.[5]

Chuck Knows Beef connects with both Amazon’s and Google’s voice-based systems, allowing consumers to ask it a variety of questions using voice commands. Consumers can ask for beef recipes or request information about beef cuts and cooking methods, for instance.

Chuck was even given a sense of humor. Consumers who ask, for example, if the chatbot has any vegetarian recipes, are told, “I’ve got nothing. But you can ask the cows; they’re lifelong vegetarians.”

The service is being promoted to consumers through a national advertising campaign that leans heavily on digital media. Ads are playing on digital music service Pandora Radio and on YouTube where videos are tailored to the specific search activity of users. Shoppers are encouraged to begin using Chuck right away.

Complimentary digital assets including signage, images, videos and messaging are available to help retailers introduce their customers to Chuck Knows Beef. Additionally, creative designs for physical collateral such as signage, shirts, aprons and tongs can be shared to promote Chuck Knows Beef in store.

To put Chuck to work on your meat department team, visit




[1] The Power of Meat: An In-Depth Look at Meat and Poultry Through the Shoppers’ Eyes, 2018, Food Marketing Institute, Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research and Education.


[3] Shopper Insight 360 Study, 2017, RIS


[5] Voicebot Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report, January 2018


This post is sponsored by Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., a program of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff