Meet the customer to sell beef

28 June 2002

Meet the customer to sell beef

FARM open days and meeting consumers at farmers markets help sell the beef, Angus Stovold told guests to the Aberdeen Angus Club barbecue held on his farm at Shackleford, Surrey, to promote the eating qualities of the breed to consumer press writers.

Mr Stovold, whose family have farmed at Shackleford since the 13th century, has 160 pure bred Aberdeen Angus cows and four stock bulls on the 405ha (1000 acre) mixed enterprise. The breed was first introduced to the farm in 1936 by his grand-father.

Cows are sold to commercial Aberdeen Angus producers and steers, at two years old, are processed locally with the beef being sold through Q-guild butchers and five local farmers markets. "We aim to produce a consistent quality and we sell two animals every week of the year," he told guests, who took a close look at his cattle before tasting the barbecued steaks.

"There is nothing like eating Aberdeen Angus beef and I do regularly test the product," he proclaimed.

Early work by the Rowett Research Institute, Scotland indicates that lean beef is composed of different types of fibre each with ability to give different flavour and tenderness scores. Aberdeen Angus beef has more of these "high taste" fibres than other breeds tested giving, for the first time, a scientific basis for consumer preference.

Now the Aberdeen Angus Club is developing the application of the Whatman technique of DNA recording for all registered cattle of the breed. The information gathered on each animal, its parentage and lineage, can be matched to retail cuts from the carcass and will give complete traceability.

Club chairman Jim Stobo believes that by combining these scientific techniques and best husbandry Aberdeen Angus beef will continue to be a firm favourite with consumers.

Tessa Gates

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