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Health and Welfare the Image of New Products

28 October 2011

Two of the major themes for new products that were launched at this year's Anuga food exhibition in Cologne, Germany, were animal welfare and healthy eating, writes TheMeatSite Editor in Chief Chris Harris.

Among the eight meat products that picked up the awards for top innovations at the show, three were for healthy eating and two spelt out the welfare aspects of sourcing and production.

Whereas new products have traditionally been presented for their taste, flavour and convenience, not health and welfare are becoming crucial marketing tools.

For healthy eating awards also went to products that are traditionally not considered to have a healthy image - salamis, sausages and ground meat. All these products have an image of high salt and high fat content.


Hellmann's Salami in Form.

However, Hellmann's Salami in Form was claimed to be a food product that promotes good health and a product for the nutrition conscious.

R Hellmann Fleischwarenfabrik says it is a salami sausage that it gluten and lactose free. The product is made from 100 per cent turkey meat enriched with unsaturated vegetable fats and omega-3 fatty acids.

On the healthy eating theme, Vion Food Group was presenting Hackplus - a minced meat alternative with vegetable protein and 30 per cent less fat and cholesterol.


Hackplus from Vion Food Group.

"More and more people live in line with a balanced and healthy diet, but still wish to enjoy meat," the Vion promotion said.

"Hackplus combines the bets qualities of both animal and vegetable protein."

Another award winner with a healthy easting message was Schwartzwaldhof's "Hirtenwurst" or Shepherd Sausage - a salami style cooked sausage that has just five per cent fat.


Schwartzwaldhof's "Hirtenwurst"

While healthy eating has been gaining ground in marketing and promotion of meat products for some time, animal welfare issues have tended to be the domain of niche market manufacturers - small, organic or free range producers rather than major manufacturers.

However, at Anuga two of the leading German and European processors of pig meat and poultry meat took welfare issues to heart to present products with a welfare message.

Poultry processor, Wiesenhof Gerflügel-Kontor, said: "Humane treatment of animals is becoming a focus of growing public awareness.

"With its 'Privatehof-Gerflügel' line, Wiesenhof is responding to consumer demand and offering, in addition to organic poultry, another poultry product using alternative methods.


Wiesenhof's 'Privatehof-Gerflügel' line.

"Ensuring the birds' well-being plays a central role in the raising of 'Privatehof-Gerflügel' poultry.

The alternative concept for raising the birds was developed in collaboration with scientists at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (LMU) and also by working with the German Animal Welfare Federation.

In the pig meat sector, Westfleisch, has developed a welfare friendly product that allows the consumer to enjoy sausage and meat products (with a good conscience".

The company has established defined and checkable criteria for animal welfare that the consumer can see.

Dr Helfried Giesen from Westfleisch said:"With 'Aktion Tierwohl' Westfleisch has set new benchmarks for careful handling of animals in the sector."

At present, the products are available at about 2,000 trading outlets throughout Germany.

Since June of this year, Westfleisch has been successfully establishing a new market segment between QS (Quality scheme for food) and organic quality with a range of 17 articles for the self-service meat, sausage and ham counter.

"Aktion Tierwohl" offers a considerable added value for both, retailers and consumers," said Dr Giesen.


Westfleisch's "Aktion Tierwohl" range.

At present, about 100 farmers are involved in the programme and Westfleisch says that there are others are ready to follow.

Westfleisch said the "Aktion Tierwohl" programme is popular with traders and consumers and shows that the well-being of the animals is being checked and recorded.

The aim is to do more for the comfort of animals and offer sausages and meat products that can be enjoyed with a good conscience.

With the aspiration of conscious sustainability by taking into consideration environmental care, animal welfare, regionality, guaranteed freshness and social responsibility, Westfleisch has been setting benchmarks with its "Partnership for Quality" for years, the company said.

"The qualitative requirements, and the moral ones as well, of our products increase noticeably and continuously," says Dr Giesen. For example, export deals in Western Europe and especially in Scandinavia often require standards of animal welfare and human welfare.

"From recent opinion polls, we feel confirmed in our decision to offer the consumer products which combine modern agriculture and animal welfare," Dr Giesen added.


October 2011

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