It is with these two contrasting views in mind that the South African Meat Industry Company (Samic) has decided to investigate a new grading system for beef. Its purpose is to ensure consumer satisfaction each time meat is purchased, as well as a willingness to pay a little bit extra for good quality. Producers will therefore be able to increase their profits.
Rudi van der Westhuizen, executive director of Samic, says they plan to have a grading system in place within the next two years, which will give consumers the assurance that the meat they buy is always of the same quality. This system will provide a description of the meat’s quality and will ultimately determine consumers’ preferences. Samic has appointed Dr Philip Strydom to research the system.
Classification and pricing
Rudi emphasises that the new system will not replace the current meat classification system. This classification system is designed to inform the producer, abattoir and retailer about certain quality aspects of the carcass purchased in order to determine the price of the meat. Yet the consumer, who is in fact the price determiner, cannot know whether the meat will meet his or her requirements.
The current classification system, he explains, provides information regarding the carcass’s age, fat distribution, conformation, damage if any, and the mark for AB, B and C classes. The price is determined by the abattoir and retailer, with consumers having no say in the process; they must buy their meat based on visual assessment and trust.
Red meat prices set to increase
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