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Control of flavour in British Beef - LK0644

The project will address the problem of lack of flavour in some beef products coupled with a wide variation in the flavour of beef as a whole. The project will identify the tissue components which are important for full flavour development in beef cattle of a particular age and breed type, fed either of the the two main diet types, concentrates (grains) or grass (silage). The combinations of age, breed and diet likely to produce specific flavours will be established.

The background is of static beef sales and the British beef industry struggling to establish an identifiable quality niche with consumers at home and abroad. The proposers believe that flavour is an under-researched area and one where results could directly benefit the beef industry.

Particular attention will be given to the changes in lipids and fatty acids which result from variations in age, breed and production system. Previous research between the proposers has shown that grass feeding results in raised concentrations of n-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) which seem to be important precursers of intense meat flavours, at least in lamb. The present programme will extend this research to beef. The n-3 PUFA are important nutrients in the diet, with COMA and Department of Health recommending their increased consumption. Red meat is a significant source so increasing deposition resulting from grass feeding could have health benefits as well as improving flavour. We will also pursue research on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a metabolite of linoleic acid whose concentration is increased in meat when dietry PUFA are incompletely biohydrogenated in the rumen. CLA also has proven health benefits in the diet.

Research to improve the flavour of beef conducted with the support of the industry generally (Meat and Livestock Commission) and with a major supermarket (Tesco) and their processor partners should improve the attractiveness of the product to consumers and strengthen the market for British beef.
Project Documents
• Executive Summary : Control of flavour in British Beef   (3397k)
• Executive Summary : Executive summary without financial information   (24k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2003

Cost: £221,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Bristol
Livestock Farming              
Meat Quality              
Peer Review