Declining Quality Grades: A Review of Factors Reducing Marbling Deposition in Beef Cattle.
Larry Corah and Mark McCully, Certified Angus Beef
Marbling role in eating quality:
Three factors govern consumer acceptance of beef: tenderness, flavor and juiciness. All add to the eating experience in their own way. Consumers clearly want some tolerable level of tenderness, granting that preference varies somewhat by the individual. However, the overriding factor behind the desire to eat beef is its unique flavor.
Meat flavor has been an extensive basis for research, and the flavor profile by animal species is very well understood. In beef, the unique flavor and aroma derive from the carbonyl compounds found in marbling (Smith, 2005). Thus, as the USDA quality grade increases from Standard to Prime, the flavor profile intensifies and improves to create a more acceptable eating experience (Smith, 1990).