As the global demand for meat is set to double from now to 2030, the challenge for the whole pig industry will be to produce a high-quality product at a competitive cost, said Ronald Klont, Vion Food Group, speaking at JSR’s annual conference, Nottingham.
“A rising demand for protein intake is being seen in the developing world, compared to the developed world, who are demanding value and convenience,” he said.
This means pork production chains can either focus on a niche market model focussing on specific market requirements, or a large-scale model targeting the mass market for top efficiency, explained Mr Klont.
“Product quality has improved and no doubt this is going to continue in the future. Ultimate pH is something that has been use to determine meat quality because the higher the pH the less drip you get,” he said.
In France every carcass is selected for ultimate pH and if it is between 5.65 and 6.1 a premium is paid. Not only is this for eating quality but also because low-PSE meat can loose 10% of weight. Keeping pigs off feed before slaughter can also lower PSE level, explained Mr Klont.
Different feeding regimes could also help optimise meat quality, said Mr Klont.
“Already trials have shown diets high in fibre and low in digestible carbohydrates provided in the last 29 days prior to slaughter lower muscle glycogen pre-mortem and also lower drip loss. Also including feed additives such as magnesium could also help reduce pre-slaughter stress and PSE meat,” he said.
But a healthy product is also something consumers in the developed world are demanding.
Reducing salt content in our products is a challenge and in traditional old fashioned bacon the salt content would be more than 3.8%. Currently most bacon has a content of 3%, but the Food Standards Agency target is 2.88%,” he said.
“Genetics, feed, farm management strategies and processing technologies will all be vital to meeting the challenges and optimising the pork production chain in the future.”