Date of this Version
Case ready pork products have grown at a tremendous rate since the early, large scale introductions of the mid 1990’s. Estimates exceed 9 billion pieces in the near future, up from 500 million in 1997 and 1.2 billion in 2000. Estimates are that between 70-80% of the fresh pork at the supermarket is now utilizing two technologies in the case-ready status. These two technologies include enhancement and marination. Enhancement is the application of a solution of water, salt and sodium phosphates, usually approximately a 12% solution. Marination expands the solution with flavor and texture profiles involving additional ingredients. The major value-added meat processors of case ready pork products are fresh-meat processors and retailer co-packers and the list continues to grow rapidly. Justification for pork producers, meat processors and consumers are many. These advantages include: better distribution of products or in-stock at retail and less out-of-stock on a 24 hour basis, labor availability at the retail level, less shrink, greater cost savings, and most importantly increased food safety, consumer satisfaction, consistency, tenderness and juiciness.