Bloom Development from Frozen to Fresh of Vacuum Packaged Steaks

Author(s): Gabriela M Bernardez-Morales, Brooks W Nichols, Savannah Douglas, Aeriel D Belk, Terry D Brandebourg, Tristan M Reyes, Jason T Sawyer

Meat surface color is a key attribute that influences the purchase of meat products in stores because consumers consider color to be an indicator of wholesomeness. Changes in surface color of meat during display can be detrimental to consumer purchase intent in the retail setting. Vacuum packaging is a technology often reserved for extended storage of meat and food products. To extend storage conditions of fresh meats, freezing is commonly used to reduce meat quality deterioration while retail use of vacuum packaging for meat products is increasing. Therefore, the current study evaluated the influence of thermoforming vacuum packaging on bloom development in beef Longissimus dorsi (L.D.) steaks undergoing the transition from frozen to fresh storage conditions. Surface color of the steak was measured objectively every 4 hours after removing steaks from frozen storage and placing on display cases to recreate a retail storage exposure that similar to what is common in supermarkets. Steak surface color became lighter, redder, and more yellow (p < 0.05) as bloom time increased. Calculated spectral values chroma, red-to-brown, and calculated relative values of deoxymyoglobin increased (p < 0.05) with increasing bloom time. Current results suggest that thermoforming vacuum packaging positively influences surface color of beef steaks during the first 8 hours after increasing storage temperatures.

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