From customer demand to world class brands

April 16, 2018 2:47 pm

Rangers Valley has a history stretching back to the early 19th century as a settlement for early European explorers. In 1988 Japanese company Marubeni, purchased Rangers Valley utilising this site to excel as a clean-air, high-quality welfare feedlot on the world stage.

This year Rangers Valley is celebrating their 30th anniversary of ownership and collaboration with Marubeni’s global trading company.

Cattle fed through the rigorously tested and perfected Rangers Valley system, coupled with the freshness of the New England Tablelands climate, produces rich textured, flavourful beef that Japanese consumers demand.

For the first 12 years of Marubeni ownership, all beef produced was sold directly to Japan. Fast forward to today and at any one-time Rangers Valley can have 54,000 cattle on feed on their specialised vegetarian ration with 28,000 of these cattle being Black Angus. Their slow growth philosophy is one of the hallmarks of their beef, so each one is cared for and fed for over 270 days.

Why branded beef?

With a surge of international interest in Australian beef and an increasingly sophisticated domestic consumer-base, Rangers Valley seized the opportunity to develop their beef into brands that meet and exceed beef specifications and expectations of these new consumers worldwide.

Once the market expanded past Japan, Rangers Valley developed, refined and celebrated their now famous Verified Black Angus Beef brands – Black Onyx and Black Market.

In any industry, a brand elicits an emotional response from its users and consumers. A great one engenders loyalty, attachment, warmth and repeat business, so it stands to reason there’s value in developing this model within Rangers Valley’s business.

From a practical point of view, a brand gives a name to a group of specifications:

Black Onyx: Verified Black Angus Beef steers, HGP free, Minimum 270-day grain fed, MB3+

Black Market: Verified Black Angus Beef steers, HGP free, Minimum 270-day grain fed, MB5+

These brands have become so popular all over the world that Rangers Valley now have over 41,000 followers across their social media platforms and this number is growing every day.

Both Black Onyx and Black Market are sold predominantly to chefs and the foodservice industry through their dedicated distributors. It’s on the back of this distributor network that the whispers among diners now span the globe. Some of these customers will sell to the public and they find that these discerning diners turned consumers, ask for the brands by name.

What’s all the fuss about?

With a marble score of MB5+, Black Market is extremely rare and represents only 10% of Rangers Valley’s Verified Black Angus Beef production. Rangers Valley’s customers, and increasingly, their diners, know this. It’s elusiveness simply makes it more prized. You can see from the social media snapshots that when a Black Market cut makes it to a commercial kitchen, chefs take pride in making the most of what they know is a very special cut and it seems that even diners are making this connection.

What, for a less prestigious brand, might be seen as weakness through low volume supply, is lauded as strength through exclusivity with Black Market beef and this has been a deliberate and strategic communications approach from the beginning.

Black Onyx on the other hand represents a flavour profile that belies a marginally lower marble score. At MB3+, Rangers Valley is consistently told the eating quality of Black Onyx outstrips comparable beef in texture, flavour and consistency. Black Onyx offers a premium and achievable product to a whole world of commercial kitchens, in Australia and across the globe.

It’s hard to define demographics of eating establishments who consistently use Rangers Valley brands. Black Onyx and Black Market appear equally on menus in burger joints, steak houses, bistros and fine dining across the world.

So, what’s the common element that drives the use of Rangers Valley brands? The team at Rangers Valley put a finger to the keyboard to do some research and found that largely these establishments have a noted commitment to flavour and quality ingredients and Rangers Valley are proud to be on menus of any establishment when this is the criteria.

Black Onyx and Black Market have become famous and infamous (in that order) in locations such as Sydney, France, Hong Kong, Dubai, Netherlands, Taipei, Monaco, Geneva, Singapore, Italy, Sweden, Los Angeles, Lebanon, Kuwait, Seoul, Shanghai and Bangkok and the list grows each year.

Otto Ristorante & Rangers Valley

A twist on the regular brand story: It was just over a year ago that Rangers Valley were approached by Chef Will Cowper from one of Australia’s top restaurant groups, Otto. Will was looking for something exclusive for his diners, and with the relationship the group already had with Rangers Valley, together with the reputation of their brands, the call was made.

Chef was already using Black Onyx with loads of success, but he wanted something he could call his own. A product that would be ultra-responsive to the dry aging process and a specialised whole-of-animal menu. Leveraging the equity in each brand, they began supplying Otto Reserve by Rangers Valley. This beef is MB7+, unheard of in the Angus realm. In fact, only 0.01% of Rangers Valley Verified Black Angus Beef make it to this grade. The resulting menu by Otto Ristorante Brisbane is officially, out of this world, extremely rare and extremely good.

How it all comes together

Results like these help Rangers Valley grow their position as leaders in the domestic and international beef market. They need success and opportunity in equal measures. Underpinning this is a great deal of hard work by dedicated and skilled people in every area of the meat value chain.

Importantly, the cattle that become the beef the world is asking for are the cornerstone of the Rangers Valley business. This means having the right processes and tools in place to ensure their lineage, ration, care, health and comfort.

Playing their part in the selection process, Rangers Valley also have their cattle supply verified by Angus Australia, and they’re an integral part of the Angus Sire Benchmarking Program, ensuring each animal meets the Verified Black Angus Beef program standard. Together, this all means Rangers Valley can go to the market with confidence.

Verification audits are performed twice a year by Angus Australia and the team at Rangers Valley proudly display each new verification certificate on each website as a mark of assurance for customers.

As part of the big picture, these processes and tools mean Rangers Valley customers & consumers are confident every time that their brands are consistent, top quality, premium flavoured and are an eating experience they can steak (pun intended) their reputation on.

To find out more about Rangers Valley’s Verified Black Angus Beef program, contact Livestock Procurement Manager, Andrew Malloy 0428 428 816 or