Asda plans to improve the taste of its beef by subsidising its farmers to participate in gene technology. The retailer has secured a 42% discount on samples carried out by Igenity, a bovine gene marker company, for BeefLink and DairyLink members. The tests usually cost £30. The technology uses hair samples to map the genetic make-up of cows and define the best way to rear the animals.

The initiative could help improve tenderness and marbling of the meat, according to Asda. “They have the potential to benefit all links in the supply chain by improving the overall eating quality of the final product,” said Asda’s agricultural development manager Pearce Hughes.

The tests could reduce feed consumption by 2.5kg a day without impacting on growth rate, Igenity claimed. With 280,000 beef cattle involved in Asda’s BeefLink programme, it could also reduce carbon emissions.