I was all in favor of the Certified Angus Beef campaign when it first started out. It was a good way to upmarket a brand of something that was treated as a commodity. Growers contributed to the campaign and got something back for their checkoff while the consumer got a little extra information to use in their purchasing choices.
Then, one day, I saw Certified Angus Beef stew meat and I said, out loud, "That kind of defeats the purpose. Doesn't it?
"Having a higher grade of your toughest cuts devalues the brand. Instead of denoting quality and tenderness it becomes just chaff on the label."
"Oh, but Jim," I was told, "People have come to look for the label without discerning it's meaning. Just seeing the shield makes them think they are getting something special even if they can't articulate the differences."
I sighed. People have become so removed from their food prep that they are looking for the mythical Tender Stew Meat when stew is they way to make tough cuts butter-tender. I fussed in silence.
Until yesterday...We have now come to see what this all will lead to and the abomination is on your grocer's shelves now. The CAB Shield, signifying extra care and tenderness, now adorns packages of commercially processed jerky being marketed at a higher price point than ordinary pummeled meat.
I don't think they will ever catch on at this point. Now that we have faux-Kobe hamburgers and Angus jerky, I wonder if American carnivores are in a spiral down to where fast food patties are revered for their tenderness and taste rather than a well-marbled steak. What will my grandchildren eat for a special night out?