Meat is an important commodity in the diet of people in view of its complimentary role in balancing the diet with rich source of amino acids, vitamins and minerals particularly iron and zinc. Thus, meat production and processing receives a better emphasis in view of its significant role in food security, livelihood and national economy. Based on nutritional consideration of providing 20 g animal protein/ person/ day against present Indian availability of 10.8 g, nearly a doubling of all animal products production has to be planned. Sustainable production of meat animals depends on production efficiency and utilization, which in turn largely depends on hygienic production of meat; cost efficient processing technologies; creating sustained demand for the product; innovative marketing approach; better utilization of byproducts and providing positive image to enterprise. It is necessary to provide meat and meat products to ever growing consumers with changing life-styles demanding variety, convenience and quality. Thus appropriate strategies for better utilization of meat, particularly processing and utilization of meat into value added products would play a major role in meeting the increased demand. Presently, about 2 to 3% of meat is processed into value added meat products in India against 60% in developed countries.
Several processes and techniques were developed for improving the desirable and sensory properties of meat for better acceptability. Certain cuts from the carcass are unsuitable for direct sale, usually because they possessed high connective tissue or fat content. Aesthetic considerations may also make low value cuts unacceptable to the consumer in their original form. Processed meat products were developed historically to use those cuts of the carcass which were not suitable to eat as such, or which required to be treated in some way to prolong their storage life. Better utilization of low value cuts and fatty trimmings for production of higher value products are important for improved marketing prospects through sustained demand and better economics.
Processing aids to produce value added, variety and convenience meat products to meet life style requirements. It facilitates incorporation of edible byproducts and non-meat ingredients for quality and economy. It helps preservation, distribution and marketing to over larger populations. Processing promotes employment, entrepreneur ventures and exports and minimizes imports. Value added products are further processed products with increasing convenience to consumer through decreasing preparation time and minimizing preparation steps. It facilitates the use of specific parts, creation of products with different flavours and increases shelf-life. Product diversification is necessary to minimize imports to the detriment of domestic industry. Processing technology should also focus on global competitiveness, energy conservation and socio-ecological friendliness. The growth of products sector assures the farmers a regular off take of their produce at reasonable prices and provides variety to the consumers.