Product development of healthier processed meat products




Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Ólafur Reykdal, Óli Þór Hilmarsson, Gunnþórunn Einarsdóttir, Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Þóra Valsdóttir, Emilia Martinsdóttir, Guðjón Þorkelsson

Supported by:

Technology Development Fund, Agricultural Productivity Fund


Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir

Sensory evaluation manager

Product development of healthier processed meat products

The goal of the "Healthy Meat Products" project was to develop healthier ready-made meat products with less salt and hard fats. In the product development process, sensory evaluation was used to assess the sensory quality of the products and consumer surveys to check how consumers liked the product. Consumer surveys were conducted both at home and at work. The results of sensory evaluation and consumer surveys were used to decide on changes in the production process to adapt the products to consumer tastes. Microbial and chemical measurements were performed to monitor the shelf life and chemical content of the products. Consumption habits of processed meat products and attitudes towards low-fat and low-salt meat products were studied. The project succeeded in producing fat- and salt-reduced products from three product categories: new meat products, pre-fried meat products and cold cuts. One of those products is now ready for the market. The new product received very good reviews from consumers and even better than the product that was on the market. The other two products have come a long way in product development and the company now has the knowledge and experience to complete that product development and continue with the development of such products. Consumers are generally positive about fat reduction in meat products. However, there is a difference in their answers depending on which product is involved and there is also a difference between the sexes. The vast majority consider low-fat meat products to be healthier than products with a traditional fat content. For consumers, the most important thing is that the product is tasty. Price is also important, but less so. Consumers often make the same quality demands on low-fat and traditional products. Consumers care about the hygiene of meat products but are not willing to replace the taste quality with hygiene. There was a difference in the attitudes of men and women. Women think more about healthy food than men and are more positive about low-fat meat products. They are also more likely to buy low-fat meat products. Women rather than men check whether the product is environmentally friendly. Package information is important. About two-thirds of consumers say they look at fat content when choosing meat products. About half of consumers look at the amount of salt, so it seems that most people care less about the amount of fat. Care must be taken with the labeling and content description of salt and low-fat meat products, as this affects consumers' choices and expectations.

The aim of the project was to develop healthier processed meat products with lower salt and fat content. In the production development process, the sensory attributes of the prototypes were evaluated by a trained sensory panel. Consumer tests were conducted to study the consumer liking of the products. The consumer tests were done in different settings as central location tests and in-home tests. The results from the sensory evaluation and the consumer test were used to make decisions on the next steps in the product development. Microbiological and chemical analysis was performed to estimate the storage life and nutritional status of the products. The consumption pattern and consumer attitudes towards processed meat products with reduced fat- and salt content were studied. In the project the product development of three products in different product categories was successful. One of the products is ready for marketing and consumer tests indicated better liking of this new prototype than of the traditional one. The two other products need further development and the company now has the competence and experience to finalize the development. Consumers are generally in favor of fat-reduced meat products but there is a gender difference and a difference towards different product categories. Most of the consumers believe that fat-reducing meat products are healthier than traditional products. The taste is most important to most consumers and the price is also important. The consumers make the same demands to quality of fat-reduced food as other food. Consumers find the healthiness of food important, but not as important as the taste. Women are more aware of the healthiness of food and they are more positive towards fat-reduce meat products. They are more likely to buy fat reduced food and more aware of environmentally friendly food. The information on the packaging is important. Two thirds of consumers look for the fat content on the food label of the product they buy, but only half of them look at the salt content. Labeling and packaging information is very important as it affects the choice and expectations of the consumers.

Report closed until 01-10-2012

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