Why cattle don’t make the grade

Why cattle don’t make the grade

By Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef Vice President

With so many factors lined up to reduce marbling in cattle today, its no wonder the beef industry struggles to maintain 55% USDA Choice grade. Acceptance levels in cattle identified for the Certified Angus Beef ® (CAB®) brand languish in the 14% to 15% area.

That’s a problem, because consumers prove every day they will pay more for beef with higher marbling. When we don’t produce it, we leave profit opportunities on the table. We can produce what the consumer wants, if we understand why we are missing the target.

USDA quality grades are in a long-term decline, with the related drop in consumer demand only reversed by the influence of premium brands and new products in the past eight years. Higher quality helped support record high beef prices; despite those records for all beef, consumers paid still more for a better flavor profile.


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