When McDonald’s advertises it’s burgers as “100% Angus Beef” it appears to consumers as being superior or some kind of premium beef. Proclaiming their burgers as being “Certified Angus Beef” is used purely as a marketing tool. Angus is merely a breed of cattle, no different than a dog breed. The American Angus Association developed the idea of branding “Certified Angus Beef” in 1978. The ultimate goal of the brand was to promote Angus as a superior quality breed, when compared to other choices of meat. Cattle must be red or black to be considered for certification (including Simmental and crossbreds) and must derive from at least 51% black or Angus influence.
Nonetheless, while the breed has very little impact on the quality of beef produced, the USDA grading is definitely useful. Majority of US beef that is sold is corn fed, but prime graded grass fed beef is also acceptable. Usually the beef will be labeled, and in many cases, much like McDonald’s’, thats how it will be advertised and promoted to the public. The USDA grades beef quality in two ways: marbling and carcass maturity. Marbling is categorized by prime, choice, select, and standard. Carcass maturity is judged from best to worst quality on a scale from A to E.
It is obvious that marketers depend on agriculturally uneducated consumers for advertisement ploys like this. While it is slightly unfair, majority of the general public has no idea what the term Angus even means, it is just assumed to mean superior because it is a highlighted term.