Consumers encouraged to back British beef

The National Beef Association (NBA) is to showcase all the different cuts available from a cow, in an effort to alter shopping habits. 

According to the NBA, consumers tend to stick with what they know in terms of beef cuts. In the UK, minced beef is the most popular.

The NBA highlighted that statistics from Statista indicated that in 2014, 141.9 thousand tonnes of minced beef was bought in the UK, more than three times as much as steaks. Roasting joints were the second most popular cuts, with 54.8 thousand tonnes sold, with burgers and grills coming in at third place at 52.6 thousand tonnes.

To promote other cuts of beef, the NBA will be telling the Story of British Beef from farm to fork at its annual Expo, taking place on Friday 20 May.

In a standalone free exhibition from the main expo, the origins of beef will be showcased with the different stages it goes through before reaching the table. Visitors will be able to find out about different cuts of beef and the best ways they can be used, with recipes and demonstrations from chefs.

“British beef is renowned throughout the world and offers real diversity for cooks,” said NBA chief executive Chris Mallon.

“But here in the UK, we’re missing out on everything beef can offer, largely due to a lack of education. We’re aiming to change that with the Story of British Beef, which will take shoppers through the entire chain from farm to fork, and introduce them to cuts of beef they have perhaps never come across before.”

The Story of British Beef will bring together beef producers, local butchers and the University of Derby to discuss the story of the British product.

Visitors of the expo will be able to see how beef cows and calves are matured and taken care of at the farm.

The next stage will demonstrate how the animal is butchered to get the most out of it, with a masterclass from Derbyshire butcher John Mettrick.

“There are some fantastic cuts of beef that are less well-known that I’ll be highlighting,” said Mettrick, who will be holding four demos during the day.

“Increasingly, people want to know where their food is coming from, and that’s a welcome development. In my demonstrations, I’ll be cutting through some of the myths around butchery and breaking up a beef forequarter, to show people where the different cuts come from.

“I’ll be discussing some of the more unusual cuts, the kind of things you should be asking your butcher, and taking questions from the audience about how to use the different types of beef.”

Among lesser-known cuts that will be showcased by Mettrick are feather steak, flat iron steak, pave rump, central rump and various types of skirt steak.

“There are six different types of beef skirt – goose skirt, heart skirt, rump skirt, flank skirt and the diaphragm skirt – understandably, people are often confused about which one to ask for and how to cook it,” he added. “I’ll be explaining how we butchers each cut and the best way to use them.”

The meat that Mettrick will prepare will then be cooked by chefs, supported by students from Derby University, with visitors receiving the opportunity to taste the different cuts. The cookery demonstrations will be supported with additional information and recipe cards in an effort to inspire something different in their own kitchens.

“The Story of British Beef is a new element for Beef Expo in 2016,” said Mallon.

“This is the biggest beef event in Britain and it’s only right that we use opportunities like this to give consumers information about where their beef comes from, and the skills and dedication of all those involved in its delivery to consumers including farmers, butchers and chefs.

“We’re looking forward to sharing this knowledge with as many people as possible on 20 May in Bakewell. British beef has a worldwide reputation for its quality and taste and we just want to spread the word to a wider audience.”

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