Marbled meat may pack more flavour, but without proper marketing it fails to sell, according to speakers at the Red Meat Industry Forum Conference.

Asda agriculture director Chris Brown said that meat with visible marbling was left on supermarket shelves. “They just don’t like the look of it,” he said.

“Improving consumer knowledge is as difficult as pushing water uphill.

“Consumers have the power and they simply don’t buy what they don’t want,” explained Mr Brown.

But Sainsbury’s director of fresh foods Karen Schenstrom said marbled beef sold perfectly well in her stores, where it was being marketed as a premium brand.

“Our fastest growing beef sales are in the Jamie Oliver range, all of which is well marbled and hung for improved flavour.”

Jamie Oliver fillet steak sells for £29.99/kg, compared with £17.99/kg for non-branded steak.

Mike Bourne, director at the Centre for Business Performance at Cranfield Business School said only taste and customer service could justify this sort of premium.