Development of a beef flavor lexicon and its application to compare the flavor profile and consumer acceptance of rib steaks from grass- or grain-fed cattle

Curtis Maughan
Rossarin Tansawat
Daren Cornforth
Robert Ward
Silvana Martini, Utah State University

* indicates graduate students; # indicates undergraduate students mentored


Ten panelists were selected from the local community to develop a meat lexicon composed of 18 terms that describe flavor attributes found in red meats. This flavor lexicon was used to compare the flavor profile of meat from beef cattle finished on grass or grain. Steaks from grass-fed animals were significantly (P < 0.05) higher in barny, bitter, gamey, and grassy flavor, and lower in juicy and umami notes. Gamey, barny, bitter and grassy were some of the attributes inversely correlated to the degree of liking of the meat and therefore can be classified as “negative” attributes. Brothy, umami, roast beef, juicy, browned, fatty and salty are some of the attributes positively correlated to the degree of liking of beef and therefore can be identified as attributes that drive consumers’ acceptance. Steaks from grass-fed cattle were rated by consumers as slightly liked (6.08 on a 9-point scale), while steaks from grain-fed animals were rated as moderately liked (7.05 on a 9-point scale).