The components of “taste” that determine just how satisfying it is to eat beef are flavor, juiciness and tenderness. But tenderness has been identified as the first and most important of the three among U.S. beef consumers, according to a new beef checkoff-funded report. 

Colorado State University meat scientists Gary Smith, Ph.D., J. Daryl Tatum, Ph.D., Keith Belk, Ph.D., and John Scanga, Ph.D., recently completed an executive summary titled Post-Harvest Practices for Enhancing Beef Tenderness as a companion piece to the 2007 Pre-Harvest Cattle Management Practices checkoff-funded report.

“Beef tenderness has been determined to be a very important component of consumer satisfaction.  Therefore, the research collected by industry experts will only improve our product’s quality and ultimately impact the demand for beef,” says Glen Dolezal, chair of the Joint Industry Product Enhancement Committee. “From animal to plate, it’s vital to our future success to continually examine and improve the quality and tenderness of our product.”

Authors said their economic analyses indicates that a 10 percent increase in tenderness of beef produced in the U.S. would add $150 million to $170 million annually to the income of the U.S. beef industry.

A few of the identified post-harvest practices to enhance tenderness were: slower chilling of carcasses; change in carcass suspension; delayed chilling; mechanical tenderization; high pressure processing and postmortem aging, among others.

The authors concluded that “…the industry must continue to use the science and apply the technology to do all that is possible to assure the tenderness of U.S. beef.”

For more information or to view the full report, visit www.beefresearch.org and click on Product Enhancement Research Executive Summaries.