Food production can be thought of as a stream whose headwater is in the soil and sun, altering in character as it grows downstream to its “mouth,” the consumer. The path of least resistance is for the traveler (food producer) to begin at the headwater and “go with the flow” downstream to the mouth. That is the primary journey followed by generations of red meat producers, considering primarily what can be done with the resources available with only an afterthought about what the “mouth” wants. Red Meat Science and Production takes the opposite trip, swimming upstream against the current working backward from the mouth to the source. Therefore, the first chapter in each volume concerns the market. The market is a complex entity, having internal variation (each consumer may desire a different eating experience than others) and dynamic over time (although rooted in tradition, always evolving). This chapter is a review of the literature focused on the consumer exploring his/her motives, desires, and distastes. This chapter also discusses how to translate what the consumer desires in an eating experience into characteristics of food, specifically red meat. The orientation is that the production is not just of food but of an eating experience.
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