Skirt Steak

It’s Foodie Friday and I want to blog a bit about skirt steak.

English: uploaded for an infobox

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m a big fan of it and have been for a very long time. So long, in fact, that I remember when it was hard to find because it was so inexpensive and so underused that most butchers put it in with the trimmings from other cuts to make ground beef. Then again, many of them took the skirt steak home for supper which is how it came to be known as a butcher’s cut. Other steaks of which you might be aware – the hanger steak, the tri-tip, and flap meat (which they sell as sirloin tip here) used to be hard to find and very inexpensive.

Then the fajita craze hit. Skirt steak – the best cut of meat for fajitas – became more in demand.  What was once a downright cheap, delicious protein became as expensive as all but the high-end steaks such as porterhouse and rib eye.  While it remains so, one other thing has happened.  There are two parts to the part of the steer that’s skirt steak (the plate).  One (the outside plate) was rarely sold since it’s chewier and less tasty.  With the increase in demand, suddenly stores would have sales of skirt that was the lesser cut, confusing consumers and offering a lesser experience.  Consumers moved on.

It’s happened with fish too, as we can see with the monkfish.  Once a “trash fish” and known as the poor man’s lobster, it grew popular because it was tasty and inexpensive.  That led to it becoming very expensive and overfished.  In some cases, other fish were sold as monk that weren’t.  Consumers moved on.

The business point is pretty simple.  People are drawn to high-quality, low-cost products, whether they’re proteins or electronics or services.  The ebb and flow of the market will make some price increases happen and demand will support that up to a point.  What the market won’t support is a changed, lesser product or a price point that makes other products viable options.  I’d rather eat a porterhouse that’s on sale for what it costs for skirt, as an example.

We need to be cognizant of why people came to our products in the first place and not undercut those fundamental reasons.  That’s business suicide.  Thoughts?

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