The modern consumer considers quality and consistency to be key factors in the purchase of meat, with research demonstrating that a bad eating experience can delay a repeat purchase by up to three months. With a growing global demand for guaranteed meat quality, it is likely that assessment and quantification will become standard practise within supply chains of the future. Supply chains therefore must give substantial consideration to those factors which can impact on meat quality, and implement strategies to optimise production if they are to present a consistent, high quality product to the consumer.
Within the beef supply chain in particular, variability in meat quality is high, resulting in low levels of consumer satisfaction. The chart below illustrates the wide range of animals presented for slaughter, variable in terms of age and carcass weight. This variability subsequently impacts on meat quality and produces an inconsistent product. The Anupro ProBeef and MQG Programmes aim to deliver animals inside a Golden Box specification: the optimal specification to deliver product quality and consistency.
Delivering animals within this Golden Box will ensure that:
Furthermore, processing a more consistent specification of animal will improve overall post-slaughter responses in terms of achieving the optimal pH temperature decline. This improved carcass response will produce a more consistently tender product with improved shelf-life.
Anupro’s ProBeef and MQG Programmes provide a platform to achieve the Golden Box specification with bespoke rations formulated to optimise feed efficiency, growth rate and meat quality. Our programmes produce animals that are ready for slaughter at 12 to 15 months of age, between 300 and 380kgs carcass weight. Our approach is based on steer and heifer supply chains as collagen matures more quickly in bulls resulting in tougher meat. Stress levels associated with pre-slaughter handling are also much greater in bulls which can result in tougher meat; associated with greater collagen cross-linkages, poor ultimate pH; increasing the risk of dark cutting meat, and poor shelf-life.
Lamb is one of the most expensive proteins available and with consumption per capita continuing to decline, it is imperative that a consistent and high quality product can be offered. The quality of lamb can be affected by a multitude of factors, but producers can address key variables such as gender, nutrition and age at slaughter to ensure a more consistent, high quality product. Ram lambs can produce a lower quality product due to odour, high concentration of fibrous connective tissue and low levels of intramuscular fat. Castrate and female lambs however offer higher levels of intramuscular fat; associated with enhanced flavour, juiciness and tenderness. Age can also affect meat quality, as older lambs present increased connective tissue, making meat tougher. If keeping lambs entire, they should be slaughtered before six months of age; after this point meat quality will be negatively impacted.
Anupro’s ProLamb and MQG Programmes provide the platform to optimise production efficiency and meat quality. All our programmes optimise feed efficiency and are designed to maximise growth rate, which improves connective tissue degradation rates post-slaughter resulting in a more tender product. Furthermore, the ProLamb programmes will deliver higher glycogen concentrations in muscles at slaughter, higher intramuscular fat content, softer fat, and reduced connective tissue, all of which improve meat quality.
The Anupro MQG Programmes can further improve meat quality by improving intramuscular fat (MaxMarble Programme), shelf-life (LifeExtender Programme), delivering functional foods (WellBeing Programme) and reducing DFD and to a lesser extent PSE (RelaxaFeed Programme) with the aim of delivering a high-quality and differentiated product.
Intramuscular fat (IMF) plays an important role in the overall meat eating experience as it positively influences sensory traits such as flavour, tenderness and juiciness. In particular intramuscular fat acts as a carrier for flavour volatiles, prolonging the taste experience. Conversely, lean meat will deliver a fast burst of flavour and then appear flavourless for the remainder of the eating experience. Furthermore, fat is an essential carrier of fat soluble vitamins which are essential to health. As the nutritional messaging regarding animal fat is now positive, there is evidence that more consumers are rediscovering the eating experience and health benefits of intramuscular fat. Both MSA and USDA use marbling score as a key determinant of meat quality and an assessment that Anupro envisage will revolutionise the European beef market in years to come. The Anupro MaxMarble Programme is designed to deliver consistently high quality meat for the modern consumer with a focus on flavour, tenderness, juiciness and appearance. Furthermore, the MaxMarble Programme enhances flavour further by altering the specific fatty acid profile of the meat. To ensure this enhanced quality is not diminished on shelf, the programme also includes elements of the LifeExtender Programme to protect the product from oxidation post-slaughter.
Lipid and protein oxidation are a major cause of meat deterioration and shortening of shelf-life of meat products. It causes unfavourable changes to the sensory and aesthetics of meat having a significant impact on colour and flavour in particular. This leads to consumer dissatisfaction and wastage. The industry could potentially gain a considerable degree of credibility as well as revenue growth and export competitiveness through increasing the potential shelf-life of products.
Whilst producers can’t control post-slaughter influences, much can be done pre-slaughter to greatly reduce oxidative deterioration of meat. The Anupro LifeExtender Programme focuses on enriching meat with natural antioxidants to extend the shelf-life and the potential of purchase by improving colour stability. This programme also improves the organoleptic and nutritional characteristics of the final product for the consumer by maintaining flavour stability. The programme delivers meat that maintains the visual characteristics of fresh meat for longer.
This programme involves the use of a very specific additive (Pronat) for the last 2 months of finish.
Functional foods are consumed as part of the normal human diet but contain biologically enhanced components which offer the potential of improved health or reduced risk of disease. The aim of the WellBeing Programme is to offer Functional Foods within beef and lamb supply chains. Specifically, we aim to improve the Omega-6 to Omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acid ratio of grain fed beef and lamb. A well balanced Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio will provide anti-inflammatory benefits, control of hypertension, vasodilation, anti-arrhythmic, and antioxidant properties. It is well documented that grass-fed beef and lamb is an excellent source of Omega-3 and therefore delivers a balanced Omega-6 to Omega 3 ratio; however, as the fatty acid profile of a beef animal takes 120 days to change, the window of supply of a grass fed product is very limiting. It is therefore important that there are complementary production systems to maintain a continuous supply of these nutritionally beneficial supply chains. The Anupro WellBeing Programme is designed to complement the supply of grass-fed beef and lamb to enable the robust establishment of a new range of functional meat products. Furthermore, the antioxidant benefits outlined within the aforementioned programmes will protect these nutritional and health benefits delivering a fresh and functional food to the consumer.
The Relaxafeed programme is designed to reduce acute and chronic stress in animals pre-slaughter to ensure optimal pH-temperature decline post-slaughter. A high ultimate pH, heat and cold shortening all negatively affect the eating experience for the consumer as well as the shelf-life, subsequently increasing waste. The RelaxaFeed Programme is designed using natural calming ingredients to ensure stress levels are minimised pre-slaughter, which not only improves the welfare of the animal but ensures the conversion from muscle to meat is optimised to deliver a high-quality product with a long shelf-life.
Anupro place quality assurance as a top priority with complete traceability of our entire product range. We participate in assurance schemes which have been developed to ensure optimum feed and animal safety.
As well as addressing the key elements of animal production systems; nutrition, housing and health, Anupro maintain an astute awareness of the environment and energy usage and all our processes are optimised for environmental sustainability.