Patents for Stretching and Shaping Meats
David L. Hopkins,
Johanne M. Taylor.
Attempts over the years to speed up the slaughter and processing of meat have been limited by the impact on important meat quality traits, such as tenderness. A number of methods and equipment have been developed for stretching and/or shaping to enhance the tenderness of meat, reducing the need for long term storage and ageing of meat. The more successful methods and equipment to improve the tenderness of meat - Tenderstretch (pelvic suspension), Tendercut (skeletal separation), SmartStretch™/Smartshape™ and Tenderbound (Pi-Vac Elasto-Pack system) are the subject of this review. Minimal research has been performed to compare these methods of tenderising meat. Tenderstretch and Tendercut are relatively easy to implement and require no specialised equipment, but they are relatively inflexible and only impact on a small number of muscles. The adoption of Tenderstretch has also been limited by increased resource requirements (chiller space and labour). SmartStretch™/Smartshape™ and Tenderbound, which wrap hot-boned pre-rigor muscles to prevent muscle contraction and shortening during rigor, are systems that do require specialised equipment. The major advantage of these systems is that they are very flexible and can be applied to any target muscle. Further research needs to be undertaken to compare these methods to better facilitate their commercial adoption. The article presents some promising patents on stretching and shaping meats.
Keywords: Tenderstretch, Tendercut, SmartStretch™, SmartShape™, TenderBound, Pi-Vac, meat tenderness, meat stretching, sarcomere, rostbiff
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