Any good business manager knows success lies in repeat customers. The beef industry follows that model and annually invests millions of dollars in research to help ensure satisfied consumers.

"Beef is known for taste. If we forget that we lose a huge price advantage to competing proteins," says Glen Dolezal, Cargill Meat Solutions. "Whatever we do in the industry, whether pre-harvest or post-harvest, we've got to be sure beef continues to perform to consumers' expectations for taste and tenderness."

Dolezal chairs the beef industry's Joint Product Enhancement Committee. During the 2009 fiscal year, the 50-person committee received nearly $1 million of Beef Checkoff monies from the Beef Promotion Operating Committee. Those dollars are used to support research that will have an impact on the entire industry.

One of the projects, spearheaded by Stephen Smith of Texas A & M University, aims to create more of those loyal beef customers.

Smith, along with colleagues at the University of Idaho and Texas Tech University, submitted the proposal titled "Regulation of Marbling Development in Beef Cattle by Specific Fatty Acids."

The project will use three different models to uncover how fat is deposited both inside and outside the muscle.

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