Lack of awareness about the prospectus of value addition of meat, inadequate technological support for improvement of quality attributes and shorter shelf life of value-added traditional meat products and unavailability of trained manpower are the major obstacles in the growth of the traditional meat processing market in India. Further, formation of producers/manufactures societies and ascertaining geographical identification, registration of brand names should be planned and they must be implemented with full confidence of local people in a step by stem manner.
Awareness creation on the opportunities in traditional meat sector:
Considering the future demand and the changing food habits, the value-added meat sector especially traditional meat products promises a huge potential to take up meat processing as an enterprise. A large number of entrepreneurs in processed meat sector are micro and small in terms of their production and operations, and are largely concentrated in the unorganized segment. Owing to increasing demand for traditional meat products several self-help groups, unemployed youths, restaurant owners, fresh meat retailer are coming forward to start new ventures. Therefore, the scope, potential and opportunities of traditional meat products processing enterprise should be demonstrated through exhibitions, kisan-mela, workshops, print and electronic media.
Technological interventions for improvement of quality attributes and shelf life and bulk production:
Simple and relevant technologies have immense potential in Indian situation for production of value-added products by a number of small-scale producers. All efforts have to be made to keep production cost at minimum with selection of appropriate formulation, processing conditions and infrastructure facilities. Therefore, promoting large number of small-scale units across the country will be more appropriate to meet the demand from a large number of consumers of varying socio-economic status and ethnic preferences.
Economic meat products formulations with higher cost reduction have been developed with incorporation of spent animals meat, their by-products (fat, skin, gizzard and heart) and locally available non-meat ingredients such as eggs, milk solids, vegetables, pulses and etc. to produce acceptable quality products. Newer products are desired to provide variety to the consumer, improve marketability and reduce cost of product. The products should be developed and marketed to the needs, expectations and acceptance of as large a population as possible.
Most of traditional meat products are generally confined to the native geographical region mainly due to their shorter storage stability. In view of the increased urbanization and increase in meat consuming class, commercialization of traditional meat products especially those are shelf stable have good potential. Retort processing is a promising technology for increasing the shelf life of the traditional meat products and their popularization in different geographical areas. Application of retort pouch processing for large scale production of shelf-stable traditional meat products will ensure their availability throughout the year and also increase their export potential.
The processing potential of the traditional meat products is limited to a particular geographical region and is in the hands of local people, who process the products in traditional way either regularly or activity during festival time or some special occasion. Most of them are only small, local and regional players. Large scale production and availability of these products throughout the year in all places will further boost their marketing potential. Availability of suitable indigenous equipment/machineries made of food grade stainless steel with automation wherever necessary may help in large scale and uniform production.
Skill and entrepreneurship development:
The preparation of the traditional meat products is usually carried by local people, who process the products in traditional way. In order to globalize traditional food, quality control procedures are essential for the production of safe products as well as the raw materials used in it. Process optimization and application of quality control tools must be followed in order to ensure safety. A step forward for commercializing the products needs uniform optimized protocols for each product. These standardized protocols can be followed on a global scale helping the indigenous products to go global. The products manufacturing should be done hygienically keeping in consideration the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines. The nutritive value of each traditional products is needs to analyzed and maintained consistently.
Quality of the raw materials especially spices and condiments used in the products which are reported to be sources of excessive coliforms and other pathogenic bacteria must be controlled. Maintaining the hygiene and cleanliness of the premises with adequate supply of potable water, use of fly catchers, air curtains, hand washing and sanitizing facilities is a prerequisite to manufacture safe products. Proper cooking, packaging and storage facilities and use of natural or food grade preservatives to improve the shelf-life of finished products must be considered. The sanitation of workers involved in the production processes should be managed and controlled.
Training and skill development of the entrepreneurs in meat processing and scientific meat preparation methods, demonstration and production of different meat products is required. Hand holding for the establishment of small-scale-mini-meat processing unit in respective locations and providing technical back up and input supply to promote entrepreneurship is required.
Geographical Indication status:
The authenticity of the traditional meat products could be protected through seeking the Geographical Indication (GI) status. This will eliminate the cheap imitations from unscrupulous makers of the product selling as ‘traditional product’. This could be achieved by formation of producers/manufactures societies/ association involving key makers of the product and seek the ‘Geographical Indication’ status for the product under the Indian Geographical Indications Act, 1999. The ‘Hyderabad Haleem’ (a meat based traditional product with wheat and ghee as other main ingredients along with spices, slow cooked to obtain a pasty like product prepared during the month of Ramzan) from Hyderabad (Deccan) region of India has been awarded with the Geographical Indication Certification in September, 2010, and thus safeguarded the product being imitated elsewhere and sold in the same name. Adequate legal protections are provided in the Indian Act. The Geographical Indication is not only give a sense of satisfaction among the local people to enjoy the uniqueness of these products with assured quality, which are hailing from the region but also, a great sense of pride and ownership is attached to these products.
Branding and establishing marketing network:
To make an identity in the competitive market, branding of the products is very essential. The brands when given a particular trademark, it helps in image development of the brand in the minds of the consumer helping in deeper penetration into the market. Establishing chain of kitchens at different parts in the city and prepare the products freshly so that it can be accessed by people in a wider living area. Aggressive marketing will spread the popularity of traditional meat products to wider areas. Further, roping the services of logistic agencies including postal departments, couriers services, logistical service providers, which have a wider network could be engaged to supply immediately upon order (offline as well as online) even forth away place in major cities through air transport. This will help to cover larger population of wider
Withstanding the different levels of marketing stages necessitates proper packaging and transport. The package needs to be customized depending on the feature of a particular product. Advancement in the packaging technologies like vacuum, modified atmosphere, shrink wrapping should be suitably employed to maintain the freshness and also extend the shelf life. Products may be marketed as fresh, chilled, super chilled and frozen as per the requirement of the customer and marketing channel. Adequate cold chain from the point of production to the market should be well maintained to retain the quality attributes and extend the shelf life of the products.
Functional meat products:
Meat and poultry products are a food category with both positive and negative nutritional attributes. In recent years, much attention has been paid to develop meat and meat products with physiological function to promote health condition and prevent the risk of diseases among consumers’. The science of functional foods is at the confluence of two major factors in our society- food and health. The link between diet and disease has now been quite widely accepted. Functional foods used to refer to foods or isolated food ingredients that deliver specific nonnutritive physiological benefits that may enhance health. A significant driving force in the functional foods market place is consumer demand- the quest by consumers to optimize their health through food. Functional foods are similar in appearance to conventional foods and are consumed as part of a usual diet and are known to improve health status beyond basic nutritional function expected of conventional foods. The optimum wellbeing expected of functional foods in the short term is to render a disease free life with the same span as is currently the case. As such meat is a source of food protein with high biological value and is an excellent source of minerals and vitamins. Due to increasing concerns for health a considerable efforts have been made by meat industries in many countries to develop new products with tertiary functions such as anti-carcinogenecity, antioxidative and anti-ageing activity.
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