The importance of food packaging has been increasingly recognized, as it serves many functions such as product protection, identification, convenience and promotion, and is very important in increasing product shelf life by ensuring safety and increasing food life. Consumer acceptance of vacuum packaged beef hasn’t been much because of its dark reddish purple colour.
Packing methods and conditions for their storage are closely related to the quality of the red meat. In general, aging of meat can be considered to be the main factor that affects tenderness. Therefore, many studies have focused on the ultrastructural changes that occur during aging. It is well known that extended aging of meat improves the tenderness of pork. However, the rate of aging varies strongly among species and muscles. As tenderness is the main factor involved in 80% of consumer repurchases, better control over aging challenges the dealers economically. Thus, there are methods known that can improve the tenderness of pork, although they have not been used commercially.
Many studies have been carried out regarding packaging methods and temperature conditions of beef. These studies reveal the influence of packaging methods and temperature on the textural properties of low-grade beef. The results demonstrated how the textural properties are not significantly different after 14 days of storage in all the samples during cold storage. Also, hardness was not significantly different between the samples during cold storage.
The major eating qualities of meat are developed during muscle aging, and it is well established that storage improves meat tenderness. In general, increasing the aging time will increase tenderness, and WHC is closely related to meat tenderness during aging. In this study, decreased cohesiveness, gumminess, chewiness, and adhesiveness in the MAP samples may be owing to increased WHC.
However, there is not much difference in colour parameters. High redness and low yellowness values are better for consumer choice because decreased redness is associated with rancidity and increased yellowness of the fat is assumed to be due to lipid oxidation. Taken together, consumer choice of meat colour may be less influenced by packaging methods of low-grade beef during cold storage.
Taken together, these data indicate that the MAP method can extend shelf life similarly to vacuum packaging, and the MAP method can improve beef quality characteristics in low-grade beef during cold storage. However, the cost versus beneficial effects of MAP was insufficient because MAP is more expensive than vacuum and ziplock packaging owing to the use of gases and air-impermeable casing. Therefore, more studies are needed to determine how the quality of meat is affected by storage methods and how to improve low-grade meat quality by packaging methods and storage temperature.