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Increased Value Opportunities For Producers

09 September 2010

US - The checkoff-funded Beef Innovations Group (BIG) recently debuted six new cuts from the beef round at the first Innovative Beef Symposium in Denver, part of its effort to help meat processors, manufacturers, retailers, foodservice operators and cattle producers maximize yield, add versatility and increase profitability.

The Beef Board spoke with Jake Nelson, meat processing specialist at the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University, who said he has formed a lasting relationship with the beef checkoff’s Beef Innovations Group that has enabled them to share resources to find the new cuts from the round.

Mr Nelson said that the industry continues to move forward with thoughtful ideas being shared from all industry segments in an effort to improve upon the beef market we have today. As these groups come together to share ideas, the industry makes great strides in providing consumers with the beef cuts they want.

“What I heard was a more formal presentation of what a lot of folks in the industry already knew or they had intuitions about, but an organised effort had never really been put together in a large-scale discussion. For years we’ve had commodity beef – big hunks of beef.

"What’s the next step, you know, continuous improvement, what’s the next best thing, how can we continue to improve upon this. Today I guess is a culmination if you will of a lot of those discussions and formally laying out evaluations that have been performed, and open discussion. It’s not perfect by any means, but at least we lay it out and get input from folks and people’s past experiences can be contributed to these discussions and hopefully learn and improve and keep progressing.”

While ground beef certainly plays a role in the beef industry, Mr Nelson says there are other cuts from the round, as recently identified, that will make a splash in the marketplace for consumers. Instead of 29 lean cuts, there are now 35 lean cuts of beef, in steaks and ground beef that consumers love.

“Highlighted value cuts today from my perspective were from the round. The round has traditionally been known as that locomotive primal. You either roast it or grind it. This is 2010 and we’re still having these discussions about what to do with the round. It’s been known for years – the old 80/20 rule – 80 per cent of the carcase is only worth 20 per cent of the value.

"We still trade beef on a per-pound basis and so we deal with that challenge. We have these massive pieces, and so the round cuts that even today, a lot of those cuts are being ground. Now there’s value to ground round and ground beef, and without ground beef, the beef industry wouldn’t be where it is, but boy if you can find a diamond in there, and market that as a steak or some alternative item, then that’s got to be better than the last alternative which is grinding.”

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