Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

January 2003


Published in 2003 Nebraska Swine Report, compiled by Duane Reese, Extension Swine Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Published by Cooperative Extension Division, Agricultural Research Division, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


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.