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The Evolution of New Beef Cuts – Part 2

15 January 2013

In conclusion to last weeks article B. Lynn Gordon, of South Dakota State University, rounds off her discussion of innovation in the butchering sector that sought to create value from beef cuts in a depressed market.

Many of us are familiar with seeing steaks on a menu such as Ribeye, New York Strip, or T-bone when we visit a restaurant. But today a steakhouse menu may list cuts such as: Petite Tender, Ranch Steak, Western Griller Steak, or the Delmonico.

B. Lynn Gordon

In an effort to increase value to the chuck and round, identification and development of individual muscle cuts took place as part of an industry focused study known as, ‘Muscle Profiling’. Thirty-nine individual muscles in the chuck and round were identified. Innovative cutting techniques were used to transform multi-muscle cuts into more consumer-friendly, single-muscle cuts which would fall between premium quality steaks and ground beef in price and value. The identification and introduction of these new cuts was an effort by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Research, Education and Innovation department along with the New Products and Culinary Initiatives Team.

The first 13 value cuts to hit the market and the location they originated were:

  • From the shoulder clod: Flat Iron, Petite Tender, Petite Tenderloin Medallions, and Ranch Steak
  • From the round: Sirloin Tip Side Steak, Sirloin Tip Center Steak, Western Griller Steak, and Western Tip
  • From the chuck roll: America’s Beef Roast, Boneless Country-Style Beef Chuck Ribs, Delmonico Steak, Denver Cut, and Sierra Cut.

In order to launch the introduction of these beef cuts into the marketplace, many steps took place from the fabrication to the consumer level. After locating the muscles and identifying the optimal cutting techniques, fabricators and processors were then educated on the potential economic advantages of the new cuts. However, in order for these products to reach the marketplace, there must be consumer demand. All new cuts were tested with consumers in regard to taste, use, recipes, and names, to ensure consumer acceptance of the products. Next, optimal cooking temperatures were determined along with recipes for both foodservice and consumer segments. Nutrient analyses were also conducted on the new value cuts. Eight of the 13 new Beef Value Cuts have met the qualifications to be designated as ‘lean’.

The return on investment for the project is now being measured. The shoulder clod cuts were the first to be launched and required 10 years to fully penetrate the foodservice and retail industry. The 2008 foodservice volume of the Flat Iron was 86 million pounds compared to 19 million pounds of Porterhouse steaks and 44 million pounds of T-Bone (source: Technomic, Inc). The Flat Iron, Petite Tender and Ranch Steak are recorded to be on the menus of 20,000 restaurants.

January 2013

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