Meat Products

Meat has been processed into various products for thousands of years. The purposes of processing have included preservation for future use, increased palatability and variety, enhanced convenience and complete utilization of the carcass and organs. Generally, people in warmer parts of the world processed meat to preserve it by salting and drying, and populations in the colder parts of the world pro cessed meat to increase the quantity and variety to eat by adding such nonmeat ingredients as oatmeal or potatoes. Obviously, all the historic reasons for processing meat still remain today, but flavor, convenience, safety, and variety are key to the continued growth of processed meat sales in modern societies.

In 1997, Meat Marketing & Technology trade magazine published a report of a study sponsored by the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemens Beef Association entitled Consumer Purchase Behavior of Processed Meats at Retail (1). The material collected in 1995 reported that 4.25 billion pounds of processed meats were purchased for $9.83 billion at retail stores. The major types of processed meats purchased are shown in Table 1. Lunch meat refers to a wide variety of products that are usually sliced to be utilized in making sandwiches. The penetration of lunch-meat-type products is shown in Table 2. A growing category of processed meats is dinner sausages, which provide a variety of flavors and convenience of preparation. The leading dinner sausage types are shown in Table 3.

Table 1. Processed Meats Purchase at Retail


$ Billion

Billion pounds

Lunch meat

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