Consumer acceptance of red meat from alternative animal species

  • Author / Creator
    Popoola, Ibironke O.
  • There is a declining trend in meat consumption in most developed countries including Canada due to environmental, animal welfare and food safety concerns. The trend is more pronounced for red meat due to its association with negative health outcomes. Red meats from alternative animal species such as bison, horse, and elk offer some nutritional benefits and are locally produced in Western Canada, but their consumption is still confined to niche markets. Although Canada is a global player in the horse meat export industry, profitability can be increased by reducing input cost from carcass chilling, but this has the tendency to negatively impact quality. The objective of this research was to provide information that will contribute to the profitability and advancement of the alternative red meats industry.
    Impact of reduced carcass chilling duration from 30 h to 17 h prior to harvesting on consumer acceptance of horse meat was investigated among existing horse meat consumers in Quebec. Consumers evaluated cooked Semimembranosus muscle roasts in a Central Location Test (CLT) and Home Use Test (HUT) using hedonic and Just-About-Right (JAR) evaluations. Color and juiciness of samples from carcasses chilled for 30 h was liked significantly more than those from carcasses chilled 17 h in the CLT while no differences were observed in the HUT. Overall acceptance was significantly greater in the HUT than CLT for samples of both chilling times. Although a higher proportion of consumers in the CLT perceived the color of 17 h samples to be lighter, this did not significantly decrease overall liking.
    Sensory attributes and drivers of liking and disliking of beef, horse, bison and elk meats were identified by 25 and 63 consumers in a taste panel using Preferred Attributes Elicitation (PAE) and Check-All-That-Apply (CATA), respectively. Both methods provided similar description of the sensory attributes and drivers of liking for the meats. Based on penalty analysis on the CATA data, juiciness, mild meaty/beefy flavor and aroma and tender texture are attributes with a significantly positive impact on overall liking while dryness, tough texture, livery flavor and aftertaste had a significantly negative impact on overall liking. The latter attributes were associated with horse and elk meats and are considered drivers of disliking for these meats. Cluster analysis identified a small group of consumers that showed high overall liking for horse and elk meats which may present a target market for these meats.
    An online survey was conducted among 145 participants to identify consumer perception of and liking or willingness to try beef, horse and bison meats. Although beef was associated with the live animal (cow, cattle, livestock), it was also associated with consumption related activities including “yummy”, “burger and barbecue”. Consumers did not have a mental representation of horse meat as suitable for food and it was associated with “aversion” and “cruelty. Four consumer clusters were identified based on their variety seeking tendencies and level of involvement with food. The low variety seeking and low involvement consumers showed significantly higher liking for beef than the high variety seeking and high involvement consumers while willingness to try horse and bison meats was low regardless of the cluster. Also, the presence of salient negative perceptions for horse and bison meats resulted in significantly negative willingness to try scores.
    This research contributes to the body of knowledge about consumer acceptance of the sensory attributes of red meats from alternative species as well as their perception and response to these meat types. Information obtained from this research will guide potential policy changes that will increase profitability of the Canadian horse meat export market and give direction on the potential for the expansion of the alternative red meat industry beyond niche markets.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
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