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Beef: It's what dads really want for Father's Day

Aaron Task
·Editor in Chief

Summer is just around the corner and along with it, Father's Day, which happens to fall on the solstice this year. Those looking for that "perfect" gift for dear old dad should think about what he really wants: Food. Specifically, steaks.

In a recent survey, 80% of dads say they would like steaks for Father's Day and 57% of them will be grilling on that "special" day. And yet, only 9% are likely to receive the gift of red meat, according to Todd Simon, senior vice president of Omaha Steaks, a family-owned company that his great-great grandfather founded in 1917.

Father's Day is "our Second Christmas," Simon says and the company has launched an ad campaign this year aimed right at the hearts and stomachs of dads everywhere. You can catch some clips of the campaign in the accompanying video (or find the full thing here) and hear Simon's take on more serious issues, including:

Sustainability: "We are extremely selective about where we buy our beef and have our own inspection process," Simon says. According to Omaha Steaks PR, less than five tenths of 1% of the 10 billion pounds of beef produced in America meet the company's standards. "Sustainability is important and we're looking to see that our suppliers are moving in that direction," he says, lauding Walmart's recent announcement it is asking suppliers to raise animals in more humane conditions. "We're a customer just like Walmart: We like to push for change and like it when other companies do as well," Simon says.

Staying relevant: Omaha Steaks is one of the pioneers of the home food delivery business, which is now ubiquitous. One way the company has remained relevant is "by offering a wide variety of things so you can really get anything you want from Omaha Steaks," he says. While steaks are still the bulk of the business, the company also offers burgers, bacon, seafood, side dishes including fresh vegetables, as well as pies, chocolates and other desserts.

Independence: The food industry is rapidly consolidating with Hormel Foods' acquisition of Applegate Farms this week just the latest in a series of deals. Simon expects Omaha Steaks to remain private and in the family's control for the foreseeable future. "Being a privately held business has been good for us," he says. "We've been able to fund growth internally and have been able to access the debt market when we've need capital." Asked about the key to the firm's long-term success, Simon cites the advice of Omaha's most famous native, Warren Buffett: 'Stick to your knitting'.

Beef prices: "Overall, we’re still seeing a strong demand for beef. So far we have not seen a significant impact in sales with regards to the [California] drought," he writes. "We do expect that some customers might switch their protein choices, and turn to less expensive cuts of beef or pork and chicken as prices increase. We’re in constant communication with our suppliers about this and have been monitoring the situation as it continues to evolve."

Aaron Task is Editor-at-Large of Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter at @aarontask or email him at atask@yahoo-inc.com.