From the Ground Up: Consumers Trend Toward Premium Beef Cuts

Published: Apr. 16, 2020 at 8:28 AM CDT
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Over the last twenty years, the Beef Industry has pushed for a higher quality more consistent product because that’s what consumers wanted. Today when you shop you may have noticed more of the higher UDSA grades available at your grocery store. That’s also what consumers want. David Anderson is a Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Economist.

“I think we’ve seen a changeover since the great recession in terms of that most demanded beef cut. I think we saw a changeover at that time from stuff like strip loins and loins as a primal to the rib. I think we had sort of a demand change in beef valuing the ribeye, the rib more than the loin.”

Anderson says that when it comes to food safety, all U.S. Beef is high quality.

“But when we think about USDA Grades, Prime, Choice, stuff like Certified Angus Beef, some of the branded products. Chairman’s Reserve is another one. The quality grades are driven by the marbling, the fat in the meat, the marbling that you see on a great steak. I think we’ve seen a shift in consumer demand to people desiring those higher quality grades, more marbling.”

And then you throw in barbeque, where brisket is the big cut.

“I think we’ve got this explosion of barbeque restaurants and consumer demand for that. There’s one particular cut that was known historically as being very inexpensive and tough. And so, lots of people bought it because it was inexpensive. Yet it’s gone in terms of wholesale beef value, it’s gone from the cheapest primal cut to the third-highest primal cut in terms of price per pound.”

Time will tell what effects, if any, the economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus outbreak will have on consumer demand for these premium beef cuts.