Meat Quality

Product appearance is important to consumers making purchasing decisions. However, the palatability of meat products ultimately determines the final level of customer satisfaction. Using the results of sensory analysis to predict the consumer acceptance of goat meat is difficult, because thresholds of acceptability of flavors unique to goats differ among ethnic groups. Consumer sensory panelists from the United States score lamb and goat samples lower for overall palatability than panelists from Asia, South America, and the Middle East.[5] Cultural influences have a profound influence on an individual's affinity for goat meat.

The lean quality of goat meat also is affected by breed type, diet, and marketing class. Comparisons of Boer x Spanish, Spanish, Spanish x Angora, and Angora goats found no differences due to breed type in lean color, surface discoloration, or overall appearance during simulated retail display.[2] In contrast, Boer x Saanen produced meat that was less red than meat from feral and Saanen x feral kids.[4]

Sensory panelists gave meat from Boer goats higher scores for goaty aroma, goaty flavor, and aroma intensity than meat from South African indigenous goats. Additionally, Boer goat meat was juicier and greasier than meat from indigenous goats.[6] Sensory analysis revealed no differences in the flavor of meat from kids from six breed combinations.1-4-1 However, meat from Boer x Feral kids was more tender than meat from Boer x Saanen and feral kids. Boer x feral kids received higher overall acceptability ratings than meat from Saanen x feral kids. Spanish and Angora goat meat did not differ in tenderness.[3]

Age at marketing strongly impacts the palatability of goat meat.[7] Meat from aged animals has more intense flavor, is less juicy, and is tougher than other age classes. Carcasses of very young animals (4 mo of age) are tougher than 6-mo-old or yearling animals. This is likely due to the rapid chilling of very small trim carcasses causing a cold-shortened condition. Animals harvested at 6 mo of age received optimal ratings for flavor, juiciness, and tenderness.[7] In contrast, some studies have found no differences in tenderness between young intact males and aged females,[3,5] although aged females received higher flavor intensity scores.[5] Kids harvested at live weights between 14 and 22 kg received higher overall acceptability scores than those harvested at 30 35 kg.[4] However, differences in flavor, tenderness, and juiciness were not detected.

Concentrate feeding will impact the eating quality of goat meat by affecting tenderness and flavor. However, comparisons of concentrate- and forage-fed goats of varying ages found that concentrate feeding did not result in extensive subcutaneous fat deposition or improve carcass quality. Additionally, carcass fatness did not affect sensory ratings.[6]

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