Global poultry breeding company Aviagen has joined forces with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) to investigate the science of chicken flavour.
It has teamed up with SRUC to use its new state-of-the-art mobile meat laboratory to see how it can improve product taste.
The laboratory caters for up to 12 tasters at a time, with each set of a dozen tests taking around 10 minutes. The resultant detailed data sets can help Aviagen to fully explore the complex links between chemical and sensory attributes of chicken meat and its taste.
Santiago Avendano, Aviagen global director of genetics, said: “We’re using SRUC’s mobile meat laboratory to carry out taste evaluations at Aviagen’s HQ for research and development.
“The laboratory is fully equipped with advanced meat analysis equipment and is specifically designed for taste panel data collection, which is invaluable to us.”
SRUC claim the mobile unit is the first of its kind in the UK. It has been supported and funded by the Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) and Innovate UK.
It is the brainchild of the Professor Mike Coffey, team leader for Animal and Veterinary Sciences at SRUC, who said: “Our overall aim is to improve the quality of the meat we consume. Instead of taking consumers into the lab, we will now be taking the lab out to consumers.
“Learning the taste preferences of the public – people of different ages, from different places and from different background – gives us valuable insight and will help us to improve the genetics of our farm animals. It will ensure the consumer gets the product they want.”
Mr Avendano added: “Consumer preferences for meat quality and taste ultimately influence our breeding decisions, so this is a great opportunity for us to engage directly with the consumer and get invaluable feedback for our breeding programme.”