Increased economic incentive for producing young and leaner carcasses, as well as demand for lean meat
from progressively health conscious consumers, are considered drivers for change in carcass composition
over time. Furthermore, many retailers trim visible fat from meat to various degrees and consumers
increasingly remove visible fat from meat prior to, or after, cooking.
The objective of this study was to determine the composition of South African Bonsmara beef from four
age groups from different production systems, as well as to extrapolate the effect of fat trimming on
physical composition. Fat content of marketable beef has decreased notably since the 1930s, and beef
from the South African Bonsmara breed contains less than 10 g lipid per 100 g after trimming of subcutaneous
fat, irrespective of age. Removal of all visible fat reduces the lipid content to less than 5 g per
100 g, comparing favourably with other lean animal products.