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Agricultural News

Consumers Define Quality When it Comes to Making Beef Purchasing Decisions

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 09:12:48 CST

Consumers Define Quality When it Comes to Making Beef Purchasing Decisions
It doesn't really matter how cattlemen define quality says Texas A&M University Meat Science Jeff Savell. What matters, he says, is how beef consumers define it, enjoy it, and come back to purchase more.

"We always talk about palatability being flavor, juiciness and tenderness. I've spent my whole career in the tenderness area looking at how we can increase tenderness, but sometimes we forget that flavor is that big driver, too.

In fact, the 2011 Beef Quality Audit found that flavor is the number one driver of quality since most beef is tender, but marbling plays a key role.

"Without question, marbling plays a great role in both tenderness and flavor- It's a pretty good proxy for delivering good eating satisfaction and things like that, especially as we go across major grades. You start going from the high end, prime, down to top choice, low choice and select and down even to the standard grade."

Those lower-grade categories devoid of marbling have a harder time meeting consumer demand. Just knowing that should help cattlemen move closer to their ultimate customer despite the distance between farm and fork.

"There tends to be this disconnect sometimes from the cattle producer all the way to the consumer because there's so many hands that transfer in that. But you have to think about everything you do as a cattle producer to make sure that the product is going to be the best that it can be by the time it gets to the consumer. The consumer wants good eating quality, but they also want to make sure it's safe and it's been raised appropriately and things like that."

Savell says every ranch-level decision plays a role. Producers can either reap the rewards or miss out.

"I think you're starting to see some things that the market signals are becoming clearer. And then, I think, it's up to the cattle producers to determine how they want to respond to them."



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