Retailers lag behind foodservice

Eblex has claimed that butchers are lagging behind foodservice when it comes to providing consumers with a choice of consistent, quality steak cuts.

Recent consumer testing has revealed that meat cut using seam butchery, rather than traditional cutting methods, is popular with consumers and produces a more consistent product. It also utilises as much of the carcase as possible, which can help add considerable profit. However, it appears that retailers are not capitalising on the benefits these cuts offer.

Eblex retail project manager Mike Whittemore said: “We’ve already had impressive feedback from many catering butchers, chefs and meat processors, who have reported huge demand for many of the steaks in the range. The opportunities for retailers to capitalise on the growing popularity of these steaks, is clearly there for the taking. Hopefully, these latest results will help convince the retail sector to get on board.”

“We have demonstrated that, despite the additional processing and butchery costs involved, preparing meat by following the muscle structure of the carcase could enhance margins and overall profitability throughout the supply chain, adding as much as £30m in retail sales.”

The testing gave consumers the opportunity to test the new cuts at home, cooking them according to on-pack instructions. The 21-day matured flat iron steak, which had previously tested well on good visual appearance and also leanness, was ranked more highly than rump, sirloin and frying steak. The Denver steak was also tested by consumers and deemed better than frying steak by more than 65% of people asked.

Whittemore said: “The flat iron comes from the feather muscle, which is normally used for braising, dice or mince. Just by cutting it differently and removing all the gristle, we can produce a wonderful steak that is not only extremely tender, succulent and juicy, but when matured correctly, can rival the more traditional cuts.”

“Frying steaks are usually taken from the topside, silverside or thick flank, but these results give us the opportunity to turn a braising steak into a frying steak. Currently the average retail price for a braising steak is £7.55/kg, but frying steaks retail at £11.52/kg, so the benefits to industry are immediately obvious.

“Put simply, if retailers were to take the Denver steak on board, positioning it as a frying steak, it would add an extra 4% gross margin on the chuck primal. That’s got to be a win-win situation for retailers and consumers alike. Not only does it add to consumer choice with products of enhanced eating quality and improved consistency, but it also increases the overall value of the carcase.”


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