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Meat Quality

Greetings Readers

The following news brief draws attention to the problems of establishing quality standards for the production of high value meat in the mind of the consumer. Most farmers are well aware of the health quality issues, which must be met by producers..

Even the most indifferent producer is aware that if his stock at slaughter do not meet these health standards it will cost dearly however it seems that very few farmers are aware of what steps should be taken to improve the taste and tenderness of his animals across his total line.

All New Zealanders will be aware of the wide pricing differentials paid for meat sourced from different countries when observing supermarket sales as they have travelled world. Colour, fat cover and marbling of steak can appear similar but price can range from $NZ20 to $NZ60 per kg and NZ's price is invariably the lower end of that range

Meat processors have a major role to play in putting this problem right. For without a pricing differential for the significant qualities of taste and texture sought by consumers, no producer will be motivated to improve the marketability of his product unless the market return shows in farm gate payments.

The NZ meat processors have had a long history of rewarding the mediocre with a meat-pricing schedule that is totally volume driven rather than quality lead.

Perceptions of quality for taste and texture have been dismissed as subjective. But it is only out of that subjectivity that the definition of quality relative to a brand can be established.

Breeds have attempted this function vacated by the processors and exporters but this avenue has relied on the breed's characteristics matching the consumer's perception of quality. But because of geographic and environmental differences is still likely to produce too wide a range of quality characteristics for the consumer looking for consistency from a brand.

Development of quality standards that identify and match todays discerning consumer's perception of quality across a range of markets is urgently required. It seems that this change is beyond the capacity of the current processors to manage and once again it reverts to the producer to initiate and manage a change.

Our competitors have commenced the task as is exampled by the Australian Supergene Evaluation Scheme.

What is our leadership planning?

Good farming

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