There’s no question that improving eating quality would go a long way toward making pork the meat of choice. Researchers are exploring ways to improve taste, texture, shelf life and many other attributes that affect meat quality.

Tenderness improves with storage of meat after slaughter, notes W.H. Close of Close Consultancy, Wokingham, Berkshire, United Kingdom.

Speaking at Alltech’s 13th annual Biotechnology in the Feed Industry Symposium, Close noted the degree of tenderization depends largely on the activity or suppression of two enzyme systems.

One, the calpain enzyme system,

depends on the meat’s calcium level. Injecting calcium salt solutions, such as calcium chloride, can improve a pork carcass’ eating quality and tenderness.

That’s fine for the processing side. But Close suggests it may be possible to add calcium or other electrolyte compounds in a pig’s diet to improve tenderness in pork carcasses.

Still experimental, the theory has promise. This is just one example of what researchers are doing to find ways to improve meat quality, not just during processing but on the farm as well.

Watch for ways to alter your production system to produce not just profitable hogs but high-quality pork. That will convince the consumer to return to your product again and again. Ultimately, it will bolster your bottom line more than lean percentage and other factors you’ve relied on to boost your profits in the past, Close contends.