Processors urged to look to the US

The National Beef Association is urging the industry to look across the pond for inspiration on maximising carcase value.

The NBA said the UK processing sector should take a leaf out of the US industry’s book and initiate research what cuts are being wasted by ending up in the mincer.

“Cattle are already more expensive than they were, and will get even more expensive in future, so the purchasing problem that abattoirs face can only be reduced by making the carcase they buy more valuable,” explained NBA director, Kim Haywood.

“Last month researchers in the US identified more, hitherto unused, tender muscles in the forequarter and are encouraging processors to remove these to sell as individual cuts when they break down the carcase.

“No processing company in the UK is going to get rich if it continues to sell almost half the carcase as mince but if these new cuts are retailed as a high value product, similar in cost to rump steak, a greater proportion of the carcase can be sold at higher prices.”

She highlighted the discovery of the flat iron steak in the US some years ago, pointing out the discovery added £35 to the value of each carcase processed.

“More recently three more new muscles have been identified within the chuck roll. They have been named the Delmoncio Steak or Chuck Eye, the Denver Cut, and the Sierra and if processors remove each of these by seam cutting, and they are then retailed at a much higher price than mince, then more people in the beef supply chain will make more money.”

She blamed the subsidy culture for stifling innovation in the UK: “It is unfortunate that the UK’s processing sector has fallen so far behind in adopting this type of innovation but that is a hangover of the old subsidy system which stifled many, much needed, new initiatives.”

“All this can change if abattoir managers join with retailers in a determined effort to widen the disappointingly narrow range of beef cuts currently offered at store level in the UK.”

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