Beef Research Needs to Focus On Flavor, OSU Animal Science Professor SaysTue, 20 Aug 2013 16:38:52 CDT
Beef is known for its flavor, yet the industry may need to spend more time focusing on it. The most recent nation Beef Quality Audit points out flavor's growing importance with consumers.
"We all know that palatability is important," says Deb VanOverbeke of Oklahoma State University, "and when we say palatability, it's tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. But the one interesting piece that I think came from the audit is that if you as those closest to the consumer-retailers and food service restaurateurs-they'd tell you that flavor is more important than tenderness. And if you ask everyone else in the industry, they think tenderness is more important than flavor. And so I think it gave us some insights on what factors we maybe need to focus on. And we've done so much research over the years on tenderness that now it's time to do some flavor and maybe combine the two and find out where we need to go from here to make sure we're meeting consumer demands."
Previous research has shown that USDA quality grades do a good job of predicting all three of those palatability traits.
"As you improve quality grade you see the odds of having an unpleasant eating experience go down. And the reason for that is twofold. If you think of it as the two main factors, tenderness and flavor, from the audit, we know that as we increase fat in that product we're going to increase tenderness. We're going to improve palatability and we're going to improve sheer force values. And so it's going to be more tender and more easy for them to chew. And that fat also gives it flavor."
What does that mean for the beef industry's customers?
"If they can look at quality grade and if they can figure out what cut they want based on what they're going to do with that cut, that's going to give them a home run."
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