Consumer Sensory Acceptance and Value of Wet Aged and Dry Aged Beef
Journal of Animal Science
To determine sensory preference and value of fresh beef steak differing in aging technique, strip steaks were evaluated by consumers in Denver (n = 132 consumers) and Chicago (n = 141 consumers). Wet-aged Choice strip loins were matched with dry-aged Choice strip loins, whereas wet-aged Prime strip loins were matched with dry-aged Prime strip loins. Dry-aged strip loins were commercially aged in air in a controlled environment for 30 d and vacuum-aged for 7 d during shipping and storage. Wet-aged strip loins were vacuum-packaged and aged for 37 d in a 1°C cooler. Pairs of strip loins were matched to similar Warner-Bratzler shear force values and marbling scores. Twelve sensory evaluation panels (of 12 scheduled panelists each) were conducted over a 3-d period in each city. Individual samples from a pair of steaks were evaluated by the panelists for sensory traits. Bids were placed on the samples after sensory traits were obtained utilizing a variation of the Vickery auction with silent, sealed bids. No significant differences for sensory traits of flavor, juiciness, tenderness, or overall acceptability were detected between wet-aged Choice samples and dry-aged Choice samples. Although wet-aged Choice samples were numerically superior for all sensory traits, consumers placed similar bid values (P = 0.12) on wet- and dry-aged Choice samples ($3.82 per 0.45 kg and $3.57 per 0.45 kg, respectively). Wet-aged Prime samples were rated more desirable (P <0.001) for flavor, tenderness, and overall acceptability than dry-aged Prime samples. Wet-aged Prime samples were valued at $4.02 per 0.45 kg, whereas dry-aged Prime samples brought $3.58 per 0.45 kg (P = 0.008). Consumers (29.3%) who preferred the dry-aged Choice samples over the wet-aged Choice samples were willing to pay $1.99/0.45 kg more (P <0.001) for dry-aged samples. The consumers who preferred the wet-aged Choice over the dry-aged Choice samples (39.2%) were willing to pay $1.77/0.45 kg more (P <0.0001). Consumers who preferred wet-aged Prime over dry-aged Prime samples (45.8%) paid $1.92/0.45 kg more (P <0.0001). Consumers who preferred dry-aged Prime samples (27.5%) were willing to pay $1.92/0.45 kg more than for the wet-aged Prime samples. Although more consumers preferred wet-aged samples, markets do exist for dry-aged beef, and consumers are willing to pay a premium for this product.
Sitz, B.M., Calkins, C.R., Feuz, D.M., Umberger, W.J., and Eskridge, K.M. 2006. "Consumer sensory acceptance and value of wet aged and dry aged beef." Journal of Animal Science, 84:1221-1226.