Beef Checkoff Research Shows Positive Headway in Consumers’ Perspective of Tenderness and Eating Experience

Listen to Ron Hays talk with Mandy Carr Johnson about Beef Checkoff reserach.

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays is talking with the Senior Executive Director of Scientific Affairs at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Dr. Mandy Carr Johnson, about research funded by the Beef Checkoff.

Carr oversees all cattle industry research efforts funded under the Beef Checkoff, including beef safety, the mind of the consumer, and more. Carr said it is key to keep up with what the consumer is thinking when it comes to beef.

“Something we are seeing is that in the last two years, really the elevation of consumers wanting to know more about how cattle are raised and grown for food, and also nutrition,” Carr said. “Consumers are looking at how to have a healthy and well-balanced life, and how does food fit into that and how does beef in particular fit it.”

Carr said there have been shifts in buying patterns, such as using a mobile app for grocery pickup. After COVID-19, Carr said they have also seen some trends level off that should be long-term, such as food service.

“Many of us, during COVID, didn’t have food service restaurants available- they were closed or gradually worked until they could have takeout,” Carr said. “We got tired of cooking. We were excited as consumers to have that opportunity to have a restaurant in the food service, and restaurants are a key component of making beef available to consumers. We are seeing that coming back to where it was pre-COVID, which is a great thing for the industry.”

Another piece of research Carr talked about is a benchmarking research project focused on increasing the acceptability of beef products by consumers.

“Every five years, as a benchmarking research project since 1980, we have had the national beef tenderness survey, so it really is a report card on the industry of the tenderness of beef over time,” Carr said. “We know if you look back in the 80s and even the 90s, one in four steaks were not acceptable to consumers because of tenderness. “

Carr said since that time, much work has been done in the beef industry by producers to make genetic selection decisions to address tenderness, quality grades, aging, managing the supply chain, and more.

“We can say now that we have great acceptability of the product for tenderness and eating experience, which is the number one thing that consumers say keep them coming back is a great eating experience,” Carr said.

Going forward, Carr said an important focus would be highlighting the value of a good beef-eating experience, whether that is a steak or ground beef.

“We like all different kinds of products, from our steaks to our burgers,” Carr said. “We want all of those to be an acceptable experience.”

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR at the top of the story for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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