The Australian cattle and sheep industries have developed a meat-grading system that is consumer friendly.
It’s complicated – too complicated for many Americans – but it comes close to guaranteeing consumers that the grade they buy will perform as expected.
That consistency and reliability is something that’s annoyingly elusive under the United States and Canadian beef-grading systems.
The Australians incorporate much more information, including gender, genetics, feed rations and age among other factors in their grading system.
And they apply it to the many different cuts from a carcass, not just one grade for the entire carcass.
Consumers can shop for one grade of steak to barbecue, another to marinate and cut thin for a salad. Likewise there are different grades for roasts, depending on what the cook wants to prepare.
Hotels and restaurants like the grading because they are able to offer consistency for their clientele.
The Australians think their system is good enough to become the global standard. France and Japan are definitely interested, but not so much the Americans and Canadians – yet.
However, when hotels, restaurants and foodservice companies start showing a preference for Australian beef, that could change.
The Australian approach is focused on consumers whereas North American grading standards have focused on the desires of meat packers and farmers with little, if any, research to determine consumer responses.