All beef that grades MSA three star or higher will now be eligible to be labelled with the new green and gold MSA logo. The new label is an important step forward in providing consumers with a minimum level of certainty about the quality of meat before they make their purchase.
Research shows that around 50% of ungraded meat will not eat well. The new MSA logo will ensure consumers get a 'good everyday' level of quality. That is, a minimum standard ensuring consumers do not get a bad eating experience or 'dudd' piece of meat.
The new labelling initiative will complement legislation passed in NSW last year ('the Torbay Bill') that ensures confusing terminology such as 'Budget' and 'Export Quality' will no longer be used by retailers to mislabel low quality beef.
It will be vital for the success of the new logo that a corresponding consumer information campaign is run in order to inform consumers of the meaning of the logo, and what they can expect from better quality pieces of meat (and hence why they should pay a premium for it). Consumer testing has shown that less than 50% of consumers have heard of MSA. Furthermore only half of those who could recognise the MSA standard, around a quarter of all respondents, understood that MSA grades referred to eating quality, and not the nutritional value, healthiness or organic quality of the meat.
In Australia there is still no 'whole of market' grading system as exists in the United States, for example. While the new logo is an important step in informing consumers about the eating quality of meat prior to purchase, it does not provide guidance for consumers who demand higher quality meats, or assist consumers to make value comparisons between different levels of meat quality at different prices.
The Today Tonight story about the new logo went to air last Thursday night.
A Sydney Morning Herald article, 'New Logo Beefs Up Industry Guarantee of Quality', also covered the issue.