Phillip Oosthuizen1

1Sernick Group, Bethlehem, Free State, South Africa     



Consumers worldwide are becoming more demanding about their preference for beef and it is evident from the switch from quantity to quality issues that consumers raise in the market. This is  expressed  by  the  increased  interest  in  importance  of  eating  quality  and  food  safety.  Eating quality is a main concern to the consumer which include juiciness, tenderness and flavor. A total of 77% of consumers rated tenderness as being the most important attribute when buying and consuming  beef.  Tenderness  is  therefore  crucial  to  the  consumer;  hence  the  producer  must comply to this consumer preference to sell its product. One method to improve the quality of beef is to make use of ageing (Strydom et al., 1999).  The problem is however that different ageing methods,  such  as  dry  and  wet  ageing,  as  well  as  different  ageing  periods  exist.  This  different methods and periods also have different cost implications for the butcher.  In order the meet the consumer’s quality demands the correct ageing method must be followed to  meet the  needs, while the cost implications for the butcher also must be kept in mind.  The objective of the study was to investigate consumers’ sensory tasting evaluation of different beef aging methods and periods. Specific evaluation with regards to tenderness, juiciness, flavour and overall liking was done. Sirloin steak from Bonsmara cattle were used and homogeneously prepared  for  the  197  blind  consumer  tastings.  The  five  different  aging  treatments,  offered  to each consumer included (1) no-aging, (2) 7 days wet-aging, (3) 21 days wet-aging, (4) 7 days dry- aging,  and  (5)  21  days  dry-aging.  The  effect  of  different  ageing  methods  on  the  sensory parameters was analyzed with one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the means compared with the Tukey-Kramer multiple comparison test at α = 0.05 (NCSS, 2016).  The results indicated that significant difference occur between all the meat attributes of any of the aging periods compared to no-aging. It is however interesting to note that while consumers prefer 21 days aged beef above 7 days aged, they were not able to differentiate between wet and dry aged samples of the same period.  It is evident from the results that ageing does improve the  quality  attributes  of  beef,  that  longer  ageing  is  preferred  to  shorter  ageing,  but  that  no preference could be made between wet and dry ageing.  Since  no  attention  was  given  to  the  cost  implications  of  the  different  ageing  methods,  it  is recommended that future studies should attend to it.  The reality however is that the moisture loss of dry-ageing will have a negative influence on the weight of the final cut and therefor it is predicted that wet-ageing will be the preferred option of butchers.


Phillip OosthuizenStudies:- BSc Agric in Animal Science and Agricultural Economics- BSc Agric Honors in Agricultural Economics- MSc Agric in Agricultural Economics Registered for PhD in Agricultural EconomicsWork:- Research assistant at Department of Agricultural economics, University of the Free State- Agricultural Business Manager at Nedbank- Head of Research and Economics at Sernick group

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