Consumer acceptability of grass-fed steaks
Pennsylvania State University researchers used 30 grass-fed cattle to evaluate the relationship of performance and carcass traits to consumer acceptability of cooked steaks. All cattle were wintered for a targeted weight gain of 1.5 pounds/ day for 156 days and then rotationally grazed on coolseason grass paddocks. Cattle were harvested at a constant age of 532 days in harvest groups ranging from 124 to 187 days of grazing time. Carcass quality grade ranged from low Select to low Choice.
Following is a summary of results:
Growth and carcass traits were not related to panelist evaluations of tenderness, juiciness, flavor, or overalldesirability of steaks.
The relationship of marbling score and consumer evaluation of juiciness was not significant.
Taste panel scores for grass-fed steaks were moderate for overall acceptability (4.6 out of 9), flavor (5.1 out of 9), and juiciness (3.1 out of 7), while scoring them slightly tough (4.4 out of 9).
The authors noted that there was a considerable amount of variation in taste panel scores for tenderness, juiciness, flavor, and overall acceptability, indicating that post-harvest interventions may be more effective in increasing the consistency of grass-fed beef compared to production and carcass traits. — WLJ