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Consumer preferences for beef flavor




Webb, Megan Jean, author
Woerner, Dale R., advisor
Belk, Keith E., advisor
Pendell, Dustin L., committee member
Engle, Terry E., committee member

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For consumer satisfaction to occur, beef retailers and producers must continuously provide beef that contributes to desirable beef flavor. The objectives of this research was: 1) determine the consist of preference for beef flavors resulting from various production practices among beef consumers, 2) develop a true ranking of preference via best-worst (B/W) scaling, and 3) identify the proportion of preference for beef product categories resulting from various production practices. Nine consumer panels were conducted in three different geographical locations (eastern, central and western US). Consumer beef flavor preference was determined using B/W scaling, multinomial logit, and random parameter logit models in SAS® MDC. Proximate analysis and consumer ranking of attributes when making beef purchases was analyzed using an ANOVA, then means were separated using least squares means in SAS® and consumer demographic information was analyzed using PROC GLIMMIX. Overall, the four samples with the greatest percentage of lipid, F-1 Wagyu x Angus (20.2%), wet-aged upper two-thirds USDA Choice (15.6%), USDA Prime (14.7%), and dry-aged upper two-thirds USDA Choice (13.7%) resulted in a greater percentage of preference for flavor than product categories with a lower percent lipid, low USDA Choice (12.5%), USDA Select (11.9%), beef derived from domestic grass-fed cattle (6.8%); and beef derived from Uruguayan grass-fed cattle (4.5%). Results suggest the incorporation of Wagyu genetics, breeding cattle for a greater propensity of lipid, and grain finishing market beef cattle should result in a more preferred beef flavor characteristic. Results from demographic preference show females, Millennials (18 - 34 years of age), and respondents with an average or higher household income are more likely to consider beef derived from Uruguayan grass-fed cattle as their least preferred sample. Results from consumers making beef purchasing decisions show marbling level (3.8) and USDA grade of product (4.2) are moderately important and if the product was grass-fed vs. grain-fed (7.5) is the least important beef characteristic. Demographic information shows Baby Boomers (over 50 years of age) prefer beef derived from domestic grass-fed cattle (10.3%) more than both Generation X (6.0%; 35 - 50 years of age) and Millennials (7.1%; P < 0.05). Baby Boomers (18.6%) also prefer dry-aged upper two-thirds USDA Choice more than Millennials (13.6%; P < 0.05).


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