Opportunities for predicting and manipulating beef quality

Jean -F Hocquette, Raphaëlle Botreau, Brigitte Picard, Alain Jacquet, David W. Pethick, N. D. Scollan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Meat quality is a complex concept and can be defined as the characteristics of meat which satisfy consumers and citizens. The quality concept can be divided into intrinsic quality traits (which are the characteristics of the product itself) and extrinsic quality traits (which are more or less associated to the product for instance the price, a major determinant of purchase, or any brand or quality label). Quality can also be generic for the mass market or specific for niche markets. The relative importance of the different quality traits varies with human culture and time with a general trend of an increasing contribution of healthiness, safety and extrinsic quality traits. This review underlines the need for the development of methods to interpret and aggregate measures under specific rules to be defined in order to produce an overall assessment of beef quality. Such methods can be inferred for example from genomic results or data related to muscle biochemistry to better predict tenderness or flavor. A more global assurance quality scheme (the Meat Standards Australia System) based on the aggregation of sensory quality traits has been developed in Australia to ensure palatability to consumers. We speculated that the combination of indices related to sensory and nutritional quality, social and environmental considerations (carbon footprint, animal welfare, biodiversity of pasture, rural development, etc.) and economic efficiency (incomes of farmers and of others players along the supply chain, etc.) will provide objective assessment of the overall quality of beef (i.e. incorporating an all encompassing approach) not only for the mass market but also to support official quality labels of niche markets which are so far mainly associated with the geographical origins of the products.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-209
Number of pages13
JournalMeat Science
Issue number3
Early online date12 Apr 2012
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • beef
  • assurance quality scheme
  • quality signs
  • niche markets


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