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DEVELOPMENT OF NEW NUTRACEUTICAL MEAT PRODUCTS

Final Report Summary - NUTRAMEAT (Development of new nutraceutical meat products)

New functional foods are coming onto the market, nutraceutical foods, pharmafoods, which are becoming key products in the diet of many Europeans. Although at present the new meat products proposed here do not exist yet in the market. Nutraceuticals or pharmafoods comprise ingredients, formulae and supplements based on bioregulating principles such as vitamins, mineral salts, anti-oxidants, microbial flora, amino acids and vegetable extracts.

In this project a new line of meat products with nutraceutical properties have been developed. The formulation of emulsified meat products has been varied to decrease total fat content, and replace saturated fat with lipid components with demonstrated positive health impact. The stabilisation of the meat emulsion of lower fat content was promoted by the incorporation of vegetable fibre, as well as through the use of transglutaminase enzyme, capable of cross-linking the protein matrix of the emulsion. This general strategy has been applied to various emulsified meat products, such as meat paste sausages and reconstituted meats. Prototype formulations with the best technological and sensory evaluation scores were then further developed at the meat industry level. Nutritional assessments were conducted by nutrition specialist to assess the effect of these products on the serum lipid profile of the consumers.

Consumer acceptance studies were also carried out to determine the potential of these products in the market. The general objective of the project has been to develop new nutraceutical meat products with a very high palatability and health properties such as:
- reduction of unwanted cholesterol in blood (low fat content, olive oil);
- decreasing animal fat and enhancing meat quality attributes (conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on pork);
- reduction of colon disorders, constipation, cancer of the colon, hyperlipidemia problems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity (oat bran fibre). These new nutraceutical meat products have been stabilised with TG (transglutaminase enzyme) and meat product oxidation has been slowed due to the addition natural vegetable antioxidants.

All the SMEs took their laboratory developed products from the corresponding RTD centres. Often this was in the form of the basic constituent meat paste and then all the SME partners used their own tasting experts (some internal and some external tasters) to fine tune the seasoning mix to ensure the product was well within their product profile and therefore best suited for the corresponding consumer markets. At this stage it became apparent that the consumer analysis in Greece may cause some anomalies.

This is because the final products have been developed for specific national markets and the consumer tastes in one country are not always the same as in another especially considering the climate and cultural differences that can be seen over the huge geographical distances involved. Spain, France, Ireland, Hungary and Greece aren't exactly geographical neighbours. As such, the analyses of greater importance were those performed by the partners in their own consumer market tests although the Greek analyses did show some interesting facts about increased acceptability where information of health benefits was available. SME partners feel that this highly important task that has been successfully accomplished.

The NUTRAMEAT project shows that the meat based on food ingredients with health properties, such as olive oil, conjugated linoleic acid, fibre and rosemary, have an impact on the health when they are included regularly in the human diet. These effects have been seen in elderly subjects, which are considered a risk group for his profile of plasma lipids and their potential risk of malnutrition.

From the obtained results it is possible to say that when the subjects consume the products analysed by the partners, they show a favourable effect on the blood lipid profile which is associated with cardiovascular risk. In addition, in the case of the product developed by ADIV, there is a positive effect on the lipid peroxidation, which is associated with atherogenic risk.

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