Easy to chew, but hard to swallow - consumer perception of neutrally marinated meat

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Purpose – Meat which has been injected or tumbled with water, salt, sugar and other ingredients, has been available on the Danish market for some decades and is now becoming increasingly common. However, it is not known whether this so-called neutrally marinated meat will be appropriated by consumers in the long term, or will be destined to be a marginal second rate product. The purpose of this paper is to explore the views of consumers on neutrally marinated meat, including acceptance and potential problems for appropriation.

Design/methodology/approach – Four focus group interviews were conducted involving 27 Danish consumers with various socio-demographic backgrounds.

Findings – The interviewed consumers had very little prior knowledge of neutrally marinated meat, and expressed ambivalent attitudes when introduced to it. They had favourable reactions to its taste, texture and robustness and saw the potentially low price as a positive feature. But they also viewed neutrally marinated meat as unnatural, unauthentic and potentially risky to health. Furthermore, concern was expressed due to the lack of information available to consumers and due to suspicion of unfair prices. The focus group interviews also showed that categorisation of neutrally marinated meat in different social contexts is not settled, underlining a sense of ambivalence among consumers. So, even though neutrally marinated meat is being consumed it is unclear if and when conceptual appropriation will take place.

Originality/value – This study provides a broader perspective on consumer perception of new products than found in conventional sensorial tests, including views on the processing, health aspects, ethical aspects and convenience aspects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Food Journal
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1095-1105
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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