The food conversion and meat quality of 10 Aberdeen Angus and 10 Charolais crossbred heifers, about 18 to 20 months of age, was measured. The animals were finished using diet of hay and concentrates for up to 10 weeks prior to slaughter at either fat class or 4L using the Meat and Livestock Commission scheme. There were no significant breed differences in food conversion. Post slaughter, samples of muscle from the L. dorsi over the 11 to 12th rib from all heifers were used for sensory evaluation using a trained taste panel. The muscle from heifers in fat class 4L showed an increased flavour intensity compared with those in fat class 3 (P < 0·05). No other differences in sensory characteristics were found. The measurement of muscle fibre areas in the L. dorsi revealed no significant differences, suggesting a similarity in the texture of the meat from the breeds when slaughtered at the same age.