M.J.J. van den Heever1, W.A. Lombard2 & H. Jordaan3

1Postgraduate student, Department of Agriculture Economics, University of the Free State

2Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State

3Senior lecturer, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State

Corresponding author:



Beef consumption in South Africa increased by 1.6% from 2016 to 2017 and it is expected that the total beef consumption will expand by 19% over the next decade.  Most South African consumers focus on affordability followed by health and appearance when buying meat and don’t necessarily look at the meat classification. Research has shown that the South African beef classification system is used as a grading system due to the preference of classes, which defeats the original purpose of the system. The aim of this study is to compare the current red meat classification system used in South Africa to classification and grading systems used in other countries to provide alternatives when amending the shortcomings of the current classification system. Using international classification/grading systems can provide guidance on how to amend the current South African classification system. This study provides an adapted beef grading system adapted according to the Meat Standard Australia system that can be used in South Africa. In the suggested system beef will be graded according to pH measurements and days aged. This study can be used by decision makers when to assist in adapting the current beef classification system.


I, Mario van den Heever, am a postgraduate student at the University of the Free State where I am also a research assistant at the Department of Agricultural Economics. I do research regarding the fluctuations of commercial red meat prices for the Red Meat Producers Organisation. I completed my degree in B.Sc. Agric in Animal Sciences and Agriculture Economics. I am an enthusiastic runner and like being outdoors. Being an ambassador for sustainable agriculture is my dream.

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