Market beef on taste and quality, urge producers

By FWi staff

BEEF farmers want more attention paid to the eating quality of their product.

According to the National Beef Association, producers believe that abattoirs and supermarkets are concentrating too much on leanness, and want more attention paid to the beef used in the luxury and mainstream markets.

This would mean that consumers looking for taste and tenderness have a better chance of being reassured.

The NBA believes that a greater amount of beef could be retailed for more money if the people buying it were confident that the product justified the extra expense.

“Farmers are often accused of having a couldnt-care-less attitude about the cattle they sell, and being indifferent about the quality of beef sold by retailers,” said the NBAs consumer spokesman, Pauline Adams.

“We believe that the delivery of increased volumes of better product will generate more interest in beef, and would urge other processors to examine whether the flavour, texture and tenderness of the beef they sell is as good as it could be,” she said.

There have been a number of cases where good beef taken from good cattle has been devalued through poor abattoir techniques, or that finishers have not been able to develop their cattle to their full eating potential, said Ms Adams.

“As a result, too many consumers are not coming back to beef because they have been disappointed,” she said.

The NBA would also like the processing sector to examine whether it needs to establish a wider range of quality standards.

Farmers want the beef from their cattle to be as good as it possibly could be, and would welcome feedback to help them raise the quality of their product, said Ms Adams.

“We are told that as long as a well-handled carcass is muscled to R conformation standards, has a 4H finish and is conditioned properly, it will eat well,” she said.

“But too many multiples use fat class 3 as their base, sell it too soon after slaughter, and then wonder why customers complain about dry beef and poor eating quality.”

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