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Frozen Meat

What is Meat?
Meat can be defined as the edible flesh of animals, especially that of mammals, as distinct from game, poultry, and fish. Sometimes meat is inclusive of all animal flesh. Meat is the animal muscle tissue i.e. used as food, generally skeletal muscle and associated fat, but it may also refer to organs, including lungs, livers, skin, brains, bone marrow, kidneys, and a variety of other internal organs as well as blood. The term is also used by the butchering and packaging food industry though in a limited meaning - the flesh of mammalian species (pigs, cattle, etc.) raised and butchered for human consumption.


Commercial Classifications of Meat

  • Game - Rabbit, hare, deer (venison), pheasant etc. Wild animals and birds protected by gaming laws and killed for sport at specified times of the year
  • Offal - Internal organs of animals, liver, kidney, heart, tongue, oxtail, crubeens, sweetbreads (glands)
  • Poultry - Meat from birds usually bred for eating, i.e. chicken, turkey, goose, chicks
  • Carcass Meat - Flesh of animals i.e. cattle (beef), sheep (mutton, lamb), pigs (pork, bacon, ham).


Historical Background
Since the prehistoric times human beings have hunted, raised, and slaughtered animals for their meat. The meat was procured by human beings initially in the form of the raw flesh of animals found dead, was augmented by trapping; then, as humans developed their tools and a community life, by hunting; and finally, by the domestication of animals.

After wards, as civilizations progressed, cultures evolved and with the emergence of religions, there came about the religious practices of animal sacrifice. For instance in Hinduism, priests and temple assistants performed the functions of slaughtering and butchering animals for food for offering to god - kind of prasāda.

Cultural Background
Meat consumption has been commonly based on the supply, lamb and mutton being preferred in the Middle East and also in the Indian Subcontinent, veal in Italy, and pork and beef in most of Europe and the Americas. The leading producers of meat for export are Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand.

For most human beings, meat is a highly desired food, but it is more of a treat than a staple. Meat is also the only class of food that is frequently formally proscribed by certain religions, cultures, or cultural subgroups. Meat is both the most tabooed—and the most favored—food across the human race, in both developed and traditional cultures.

In general terms, meat is comparatively much more expensive than staple carbohydrate-rich foods, therefore catering to the food habits of the affluent or the elites or the superior class.


Meat and Nutrition
Meat contains essential nutrients required for good health and body function. It is affordable and can be prepared using a wide variety of cooking methods and interesting combinations of ingredients. India produces high quality meat. Production of beef, lamb, pig meat and poultry is a major industry. The nutritional content of meat can be charted as follows:-

  • Protein - Rich source of High Biological Value (HBV) protein. The proteins myosin, actin, albumin, and globulin are present in meat fibres. Collagen and elastin are found in connective tissue.
  • Carbohydrate - Meat contains none of this nutrient. Liver may contain glycogen (stored form of Glucose). During hanging, glycogen is converted to lactic acid.
  • Lipids - Varies with the type of animal and the cut. Beef can have visible fat removed. Stearic acid (fatty acid) is found in red meat.
  • Vitamins - Meat is a good source of B group vitamins.
  • Minerals Elements - Red meat (beef) is an excellent source of easily absorbed iron. Also present are zinc, phosphorous, sulphur, and potassium.
  • Water - 70% in raw meat, less when cooked.
  • Extractive - Flavorings present in meat fibers.

Average composition of cooked carcass meat (100gr):
  • Protein - 20-25%
  • Lipid (Fat) - 10-30%
  • Carbohydrate - 0%
  • Vitamins     B Group- B1, B2, B12
  • Mineral Elements- 7% Iron, 5.5mg Zinc
  • Water - 50-60%.
Changing Consumer Preferences
Changes in consumer demand for meat are part of changing life-styles caused by technical and economic developments. The increasing application of technology to procurement, manufacture and distribution has provided a range of meat products of unprecedented variety and quality. The species acceptable as meat are limited by tradition, but they are becoming increasingly interchanged as sources of raw material. The meat-processing industry, in response to consumer demand, uses many techniques, both old and new, to make a range of products which is continually changing.

There are indications that limits to meat consumption are being reached. In addition, consumers are becoming increasingly health conscious and, although appreciative of the convenience and attractiveness of many meat products, are suspicious about fat, salt, residues and additives which may be concealed in products. Poultry meat appears to be less susceptible to this reaction and over the past decade it has in fact surpassed mutton as the principal meat of India.

The relations between the meat product and the consumer who will buy, eat and hopefully enjoy it are complex. The processes used will be very varied according to what is required. The consumer is also concerned about price, health, nutrition, variety and satisfying some inner cultural drives.

What is Frozen Meat?
Frozen meat is processed from freshly slaughtered animals or poultry. The meat, which is in peak condition and freshness, is preserved by rapid freezing to colder than -18°C and is then stored and distributed in this frozen form.

Freezing stops bacterial growth. The complex chemical changes that cause deterioration of the meat, such as rancidity, are also slowed down considerably. Freezing meat can therefore preserve the meat in good condition and retain its wholesomeness and quality for long periods ranging from 6 months to a year depending on the kinds of meat. Upon thawing, the quality of the meat should be as acceptable to the consumer as the fresh product.

Consumers find frozen meats attractive, convenient and economical as a center of meal planning.

Market for Frozen Meat Products
Despite the present trend of consumers preferring butcher-cut poultry meat to its frozen/chilled counterpart sold through retail outlets, major poultry industry players seem to believe that the shift of preference to the frozen category is imminent.

There are two major reasons for consumers preferring to buy butcher cut meat rather than frozen/chilled meat from retail outlets. First, the social mind block that butchered chicken is fresher and tastier. Second, that branded and packed frozen or chilled chicken has cost of infrastructure added to it. However, this trend will change sooner than later owing to the following reasons in particular:-
Not only is frozen/chilled chicken more hygienic, but also healthier
Companies dealing in frozen meat products have regulated disposable systems, while waste generated by butchers is left to the municipal divisions of cities to dispose, leading to unhygienic conditions, a reason that would eventually lead people to buy frozen/chilled meat
There are more and more working couples today who would rather go for the clean, cut thing at a retail outlet than spend time on the entire procedure.


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