I love getting questions and suggestions for Blog topics related to meat and, todays’ comes from an old friend and past co-worker, John (who’s now living the life of a retired man … I’m so jealous) 🙂
His query quite simply was this:
“I think you should write a column about “certified Angus beef” in your blog. To me it’s nothing but a marketing ploy to charge more money. Isn’t it all just about the grading? Or how a steer was fed? Thoughts?”
Well Johnny boy, this is just for you … here goes.
Certified Angus Beef, AKA CAB is one of the most popular beef cattle breeds today but, that wasn’t always the case.
This hornless breed traces it origins back to the Aberdeenshire and Angus regions of Scotland and is known world wide as Abredeen Angus. Interestingly, this breed occurs naturally in two colours, both Red and Black with the Red gene being recessive.
As far as it’s introduction to North America is concerned, back in the late 1800’s four Black bulls were imported, and taken to the Kansas City agricultural fair.
Back in the day, these animals were used to cross breed since the gene associated with being hornless (polled) in the Angus is dominant.
Fast forward a few years from their introduction in Kansas, and the American Aberdeen Angus Association was formed. The governing body at the time decided they were going to concentrate on the Black colour, and only they were recognized as Black Angus. The Red was then relegated to a separate breed, and known as the Red Angus.
Today, both Canada and the UK still recognize the Black and the Red as the same breed and, to me (being a dog lover and owner of many Dobermans over the years) Reds and Blacks are genetically identical, just like my beloved Dobermans who (in case you didn’t know) occur naturally in 4 recognized colours. Black is the dominant gene but, the recessive gene colours are Red, Blue (yes BLUE) and Fawn. Same dog, … different colour … just like the Aberdeen Angus.
Anyway … I digress … again. 🙂
Okay so, back to your query John.
As with all breeds, grading is just one component of the process and like I wrote a while back … it’s completely optional.
As far as todays’ Angus beef well, … back in the late 70’s, the Black Angus Beef Association for purely marketing reasons, decided they wanted to “promote” their breed as being superior, so they created the designation CAB or Certified Angus Beef, and laid out a number of determining factors in order for an animal to “qualify”
What followed, not too long ago (less than 20 years) was the big push to “promote” this breed as being superior, and was first seen in ground beef patties marketed as “Black Angus backyard beef burgers”.
Seeing an opportunity to gouge the public, it wasn’t long before the BIG fast food chains jumped on board. They inflated the prices for these “superior” burgers and realized an overall public acceptance to these as somehow being better than the Plain Jane, run-of-the-mill burger.
The propaganda machine was set in motion and gathering speed.
Today, CAB is widely accepted as being superior but … is it really?
I think not.
Marketing … what an amazingly powerful tool.
Click here for a post I wrote about marketing and how your shopping habits are being “directed” by the retailers and … you don’t even know it.
To my old friend John … I hope this addresses your question buddy … and, I also hope you are enjoying your retirement (I’m still sooooo jealous).
I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming. 🙂
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Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential