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Meat and fish

Meat and fish industry

Tenderness, toughness, springiness and firmness are all terms that are used to describe the quality of meat, poultry and fish, but how does this translate into analytical information that food technologists and quality personnel can use to critically assess these attributes and evaluate the quality of meat? Meat is a particularly sensitive sector when it comes to consumer acceptance. Whereas other foods compete for consumer preference by, for example, innovating new products and flavors, meat is often graded just by its sensory texture, a factor linked to its perceived quality.

It is the primary consideration made by a consumer is assessing meat and meat products. If the texture is too tough or too tender, or its texture has changed, perceptions of the product are affected.



Test methods for the meat and fish sector

Texture measurement can assess a variety of meat products including:

  • Tough meat products, such as steaks and whole fish
  • Soft protein-based gels, such as surimi
  • Pastes, such as meat slurries, stocks and potted meats
  • Meat particulate products, such as ground beef and minced meat

The recreation of meat texture is an important sensory quality factor for vegetarian alternatives to these products.

Bulk analysisMeat and Fish Bulk Analysis

Measuring products such as minced meat, ground beef and other comminuted, fresh processed meat products, through the use of bulk analysis gives a much more accurate indicator of its quality. These types of food are consumed and handled in bulk form, therefore they are ideally measured in the same way to help quantify the toughest components and indicate bulk firmness.

  • Assess gristle content in ground beef
  • Toughness testing of minced meat before and after cooking
  • Comparison of veggie and beef/chicken/turkey burgers
  • Consistency of sausage, or reconstituted meat patties


CompressionMeat and fish Compression

Squashing solid and self-supporting samples enables a number of textural properties to be evaluated, including hardness, stickiness, springiness and fracturability.

  • Sliced hot dog compression test to assess hardness to touch
  • Hardness to touch of salami
  • Muscle firmness of whole fish
  • Measure physical consistency of sausage for slicing performance


Extrusion (back extrusion)Meat and fish Extrusion

Meat pastes and liquids are extruded in order to measure their consistency and body. Application examples include:

  • Yield and spreading properties of meat paste
  • Flow and adhesiveness characteristics on spreading and pumping of meat slurries
  • Structure recovery, cohesiveness, after pumping


Penetration and punctureMeat and Fish Penetration

In puncture and penetration tests, the forces to attain deformation are calculated as a representation of muscle binding or sample hardness: indicative of sample toughness and maturity. Small cylinders, balls, needles and cones are used to penetrate into a sample's surface imitating biting in the mouth.

  • Muscle firmness and elasticity comparison between wild and farmed salmon


Multiple point penetrationMeat and Fish Multiple point penetration

Multiple point analysis is useful for meat products with differing textures, such as burger patties and reformed ham.

  • Elasticity of processed meats
  • Measure gel firmness, for example surimi, meat and fish jellies


ShearMeat and Fish Shear

A wire blade can be used on low force measurements, whereas a shear blade is required for heavier duty tests.

  • Firmness and toughness of muscles and fibres using the Warner Bratzler
  • Compare hardness to bite of hotdog varieties
  • Compare burger or joint tenderness and cutting force from different suppliers
  • Shearing bite resistance using Volodkevich fixture
  • Toughness and hardness to bite of chicken breast fillets with a blade
  • Uncooked minced meatball tenderness and shear resistance


TensionMeat and fish Tesnion

Break strength analysis of meat products can be undertaken using the extensibility or pure tension procedures.

  • Break strength of liver sausage to identify failure point
  • Tear strength of thinly sliced meats

Trusted by customers across the world

I have found FTC to be an excellent partner for our company. In particular, it has been especially gratifying to work with Shirl Lakeway. Both creative and accommodating, he worked very hard with us to develop our projects.

I appreciate his commitment to our joint efforts and his open-minded approach. He and FTC have been exceptionally helpful.

Steve Antonius, Del Monte Foods

Nestle purchased a texture system from Food Technology Corporation in 2006. Since then I have recommended the texture system to several vendors in North and Central America. Staff at FTC was able to develop a simple training manual and procedure for the texture system allowing easy training in short period of time.

From purchasing of equipment through to installation and start-up, the level of personal care and service was remarkable. Shirl Lakeway and his staff at Food Technology Corporation are patient and understanding, and are always at our disposal for any assistance. Since we bought the equipment we have had no problems and feel very secure knowing that we can count on FTC for their support and service.

Dr Mawele Shamaila, Nestle - USA

At the University of Saskatchewan, we are the proud owners of three generations of Food Technology Corporation texture equipment, all of which are still in working condition.

We are looking forward to future innovations from FTC.



Phyllis J. Shand, University of Saskatchewan - Canada