MSA - making the world a more tender place
It’s taken 520,000 beef tasting samples by 75,640 consumers in six different countries, but now Meat Standards Australia (MSA) is ready to be taken to the world.
Up until now the MSA program was only ever used in Australia, but under a new name – Eating Quality Assured (EQA) – it will be used to deliver an eating quality assurance for Australian beef brands sold in key overseas markets.
MSA Manager, Cameron Dart said EQA is identical to MSA and was developed to address and satisfy global consumer expectations of beef while also delivering more information on product eating quality.
“MLA developed EQA to ensure the eating quality of the MSA-graded Australian beef that is exported to a diverse range of export markets. There is no doubt Australia beef brands are very well regarded overseas but there was no program underpinning the eating quality of the product in these markets – with EQA now there is,” Mr Dart said.
“The intention of the EQA trademark is for it to be used in conjunction with existing Australian beef brands in overseas markets. It is basically a quality seal that will provide purchasers with another level of certainty about the product.”
EQA will be first used by Australian exporters and beef brand owners in the US, followed by Japan and Korea. The EQA trademark can only be used on MSA-graded beef.
As expectations were thought to be remarkably different around the world, MLA researched consumers in Australia’s key export markets before EQA was rolled out.
“Through our in-market research we’ve been able to determine the importance of key beef attributes – tenderness, flavour, juiciness and overall liking. We also investigated the differences between cooking methods including grilling, roasting, shabu shabu and yakiniku,” Mr Dart said.
“The research demonstrated that consumer expectations for eating quality are virtually identical around the world and that the MSA process is able to predict and deliver what consumers expect.”
It is anticipated that participating Australian exporters and beef brand owners will be using the EQA certification in export markets during the first quarter of 2008.
Mr Dart said several processors and beef brand owners are working with MLA and individual exporters in their markets to differentiate their product using EQA under Industry Collaborative Agreements (ICA). ICA’s are where MLA and exporters share marketing and promotion costs equally to jointly promote the exporter’s beef brands. ICA activities can include training and seminars, trade show participation and retail and foodservice promotional activities.