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The Los Angeles Times has a piece about how the US beef industry is working overtime to find new cuts of beef that will satisfy consumers’ desire for cheaper, lighter products.

“U.S. per capita beef consumption has been falling for decades as consumers have shifted to lighter fare,”the story says. “Pricey prime rib and filet mignon have vanished from many American tables in a sluggish economy.

“That has the beef industry scouring the animal for affordable delicacies — cuts that will fetch higher prices than burger without breaking the bank for shoppers. Now steaks with names like ranch, petite tender, Denver and Sierra are popping up in meat cases alongside familiar names like sirloin and porterhouse … Such efforts began in earnest more than a decade ago. That's when the U.S. industry's promotional arm, known as the Beef Checkoff, funded research to find cuts tasty and tender enough to turn into inexpensive steaks.

“Researchers at the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida studied more than three dozen muscles, focusing mainly on the shoulder or chuck, as well as the round, which is the back leg. They measured tenderness, trimmed the gristle and spent hours in test kitchens cooking up the results.”

But despite the efforts by the industry, the Times writes, “Getting consumers to embrace new cuts like the petite tender has been anything but a slam-dunk … Some meat experts are dubious too. They say the beef industry is trying to dress up second-tier cuts with fancy names.”
KC's View:
I have to admit that I completely understand the move away from beef in a way I never used to. Over the past few months, I’ve dramatically reduced my beef consumption, moving mostly to fish. Ironically, it has been easy to give up steak … but giving up cheeseburgers has been a lot harder. (I do indulge in burgers from time to time. I hate extremism.)