Beef consumers are demanding new tender and flavorful meat products that are leaner and more closely trimmed. With the checkoff-funded development and marketing of new cuts such as the Flat Iron, Ranch Cut and Denver Steak, consumers now have more options to choose from. However, for these cuts to gain more acceptance in the retail marketplace, retailers must be able to price them accordingly to realize a return.
To establish a retail price, meat department managers can perform cutting tests. The purpose of a cutting test is to provide information about the fabrication of subprimals and assist management decisions based on raw material options, retail pricing, fabrication procedures, trimming strategies, product mix, worker efficiency, pricing procedures and volume effects. Updating cutting test data helps retail operators monitor product margins and is valuable in maintaining profitable operations.
In 1990 the National Livestock and Meat Board commissioned Texas A&M University to develop a computer program to assist retailers in making purchasing and merchandising choices when using boxed beef. This program, known as the Computer Assisted Retail Beef Decision Tool (CARDS), was widely used by the industry before its software platform became obsolete. Through funding by The Beef Checkoff, additional features were added to the original program to form this web-based Retail Beef Decision Tool (RBDT). The RBDT is a cutting test program that can be accessed, with data entered and saved for future use, through a secure website. This secure web access especially benefits organizations with several facilities in different locations.
By incorporating a cutting test and financial decision tool and integrating this with the checkoff-funded Bovine Myology and Muscle Profiling website, retailers are able to use this RBDT to base pricing and merchandising decisions on both quality characteristics and economic value.