HELPING EU PROCESSORS BECOME COMPETITIVE USING AUT.. (Q-MEAT)
HELPING EU PROCESSORS BECOME COMPETITIVE USING AUTOMATED AND NON-CONTACT PIGMEAT PIECE QUALITY CLASSIFICATION
Start date: Jan 1, 2012,
End date: Jun 30, 2014
The €160.6 billion EU-27 meat processing sector employs over 1 million workers and is dominated by SMEs (94%) with small productions and traditional processes. SMEs in this vital sector are facing global competition from multinationals which are more productive and have superior marketing capacity. Moreover, the current crisis is reducing demand for premium meat and traditional quality products that are the core business for most European sector SMEs.The solution to maintain sector viability is for SMEs to increase productivity and manufacture with consistent quality. The SMEs behind this proposal (processors RDVIC and SANMI, and equipment manufacturers/distributors JCB and STRASSER ) have identified the need for a technology to sort meat prior to processing, without which 30-40% of all processed meats do not reach the expected final quality. To become more competitive, processors must be able to select higher quality meats for higher added-value processes (e.g. long dry-curing, use of natural ingredients), while lower quality meats can be separated and treated to achieve an acceptable and consistent final quality.With the support of RTDs (CRIC, UNIMAN, IRTA and SSICA), the SMEs propose the development of QMEAT, an automatic non-contact system based on Magnetic Induction Spectroscopy and Image Analysis, to determine the Water Holding Capacity and colour of meat pieces prior to processing. This system is expected to increase the production of high-quality products by at least 20%, with benefits of at least €700-1500 per tonne. The estimated tag price for the QMEAT system will be of €80,000; an investment fully recoverable in 6-9 months of operation for companies producing a minimum of 110 tonnes per year.With a time-to-market of 18 months, QMEAT represents a real business opportunity for the SMEs, who will jointly exploit the results to reach a foreseen 2% EU market penetration and an accumulated income of €24 million over a 5 year time frame.
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