The use of new technologies in beef production chains may affect consumers' opinion of meat products. A qualitative study was performed to investigate consumers' acceptance of seven beef processing technologies: marinating by injection aiming for increased 1) healthiness; 2) safety; and 3) eating quality; 4) marinating by submerging aiming for increased eating quality; 5) nutritional enhancement and restructuring through enzyme binding; 6) shock wave treatment and 7) thermal processing. Participants' attitudes towards beef, their innovativeness and risk aversion were also assessed. In total, 65 adults (19-60 years old) participated in eight focus groups in Spain, France, Germany and the UK. Results suggested a relationship between acceptance of new beef products, technology familiarity and perceived risks related to its application. Excessive manipulation and fear of moving away from 'natural' beef were considered negative outcomes of technological innovations. Beef processing technologies were predominantly perceived as valuable options for convenience shoppers and less demanding consumers. Overall, respondents supported the development of 'non-invasive' technologies that were able to provide more healthiness and better eating quality. Excessive intervention in meat production chains was severely criticized and participants expressed their longing to keep beef processing 'simple and natural'.
Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 2010, Vol 11, Issue 4, p. 721-732