Then answer, according to a paper just published in the journal Food Policy by Josh Maples, Derrell Peel, and me is "yes" - at least for most consumers.
The issue is that improved genetics and feeding technologies, along with various economic incentives, have led to much larger cattle. To provide some perspective, USDA data indicate that the average weights of commercially slaughtered cattle hovered around 1,000 lbs from the 1950s and the mid 1970s. Since that time, however, there has been a fairly steady increase in the size of cattle. Since 1975, finished cattle weights have increased about 9 lbs/year on average. In 2016, the average weight was 1,363 lbs. That's a whopping 366 lbs higher in 2016 than in 1975!
Larger cows mean larger steaks. On the surface, that seems like a good thing for consumers as it means we have more steaks. However, most people don't want to eat a 32oz steak. In fact, most restaurants and grocery stores offer relatively fixed serving sizes for steaks like 12oz or 16oz, for examples. So, what happens if cattle carcasses have gotten much bigger, and along with it, the muscles that are cut into steaks, but consumers still only want a 16oz steak? The consequence is that today, steaks are cut thinner. Thus, the core question is: for a fixed weight, do consumers prefer "traditional" thicker steaks that take up a smaller area or "newer" thinner steaks that take up a larger area?
To answer this question, we surveyed over 1,000 US consumers and presented them with a series of choices like the following that varied the type of steak, the thickness or the steak, the area of the steak, and price. Note that one you know the thickness and the area of a steak, the weight is pre-determined.
About half the consumers preferred steaks with the largest area, but about half preferred steaks with a medium-sized area. Overall, the results suggest that the roughly 50% of consumers who prefer steaks with larger areas is way more than offset by the near universal dislike of steaks becoming much thinner.
Here's an excerpt from the conclusion: