Marbling contributes to the juiciness and flavour of meat. It's the last fat to be deposited in the body, making it the first fat to be used by the animal to store energy. So to maximise marbling in red meat, cattle must be on a highly nutritious, high energy diet—whether grass or grain. Different types of farming methods produce different results.
The quality of marbling can also be affected by genetics. Some breeds such as Wagyu are renowned for their extensive marbling characteristics. A marble score is a component of the AUS-MEAT beef quality grading system. It refers to the visible fat found between muscle fibre bundles and is assessed within the ribeye muscle.
The score is assessed visually by an AUS-MEAT qualified grader during carcass grading using the scoring range from 0 to 9. Besides that, the distribution and texture of visible fat flecks within the ribeye are also assessed.