One session of the Meat Vision Conference taking place on the occasion of the IFFA 2010 exhibition was highlighting the influence of innovation on the efficiency and competitiveness of the meat processing industry. In his introduction, Dr. Volker Heinz, Director of the German Institute of Food Technologies - DIL (Quakenbrück, Germany) and coordinator of the excellence cluster High Tech Europe described innovative ways for development of new and future-compliant meat products. At a sales volume of 33 billion Euros the German meat industry only invests 66 million Euros into research and development (0.2 % of turnover). The approach of DIL, who sees itself as a bridge between research and practice in the meat and meat products industry, is focused on filling this gap.
Stressing bacteria to accelerate technological processesl
Dr. Martin Linden followed with his contribution dedicated to the use of starter and protection cultures for shelf life increase of raw sausage and their new potentials. Such microorganisms can take over protecting functions as well as technological and nutritional functions. It was shown on tangible results from research how creating specific stress situations can increase the efficiency of such species of bacteria in order to accelerate, for example, technological ripening processes.
Physical procedures show considerable potential
Additionally to these microbiological and biochemical processes, physical processes also show considerable innovation potential for process management in the production of meat products, as Dr. Heinz convincingly outlined in his paper "Innovation by using high pressure, shockwaves and pulsed fields - Application of new technologies for quality optimization and shelf life increase for fresh and processed meat". While the application of high hydrostatic pressure is, for the moment, primarily used in order to inactivate unwelcome microorganisms other interesting new technological applications appear.
European versus national legislation
Legal framework is important as well, particularly from the consumer protection point of view, when it comes to production of meat products. Dr. Markus Grube from the lawyer's office Krell, Weyland & Grube in Gummersbach (GER) explained different case studies resulting from the coming into effect of the new EU-additives-regulation nr. 1331/2008 and particularly concerning jurisdiction in Germany.
Alginate - a promising additive
Dieter Albers presented the possibilities of improving efficiency by using calcium alginate systems in the daily practice of meat product manufacturing. Such systems basically serve for restructuring meat and manufacturing scalding sausage and raw sausage products. But they are characterised by a high reaction speed concerning the formation of gel.
Robotics with high potential
There is no doubt that automation has already reached the meat industry but the potential is far from being completely exploited. Dr. Knut Franke used several success stories to present the possibilities of robotics for productivity increase and hygiene improvements in the industrial production of meat and meat products and he outlined different perspectives. Additionally, new trends in development were addressed including improved 3-D perceptibility, further development of flexible grippers, new robot movements and combined action of man and machine.