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Preliminary evaluation of red meat in Meal Me (Hot Fridge technology)

Did you know convenient grab-and-go red meat meals can increase the industry's profitability by $380 million?

Project start date: 15 April 2019
Project end date: 21 December 2019
Publication date: 10 December 2019
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
Download Report (3.5 MB)

Summary

Evereo Meal Me Pty Ltd is a new initiative from Unox Ovens who, in partnership with University of Parma, has recently adapted 'combination oven cooking' methods to develop a "hot fridge" technology that supports ready to heat/eat grab-and-go product range. Unlike traditional cook-chill process for ready meals, the hot fridge essentially preserves the food for up to three days at the temperature it needs to be served at.

This project considered the desirability of this concept to consumers and supply chain stakeholders in Australia, as well as the feasibility of increasing the value of red meat products.

The hot fridge technology and its application to the red meat industry is quite revolutionary and has a substantial value proposition. A cost-benefit analysis found that there is potential for an estimated $380 million in increased red meat sales should the hot fridge technology be widely adopted.

Objectives

The objectives of the project were to:

  • test the technical feasibility and viability of the business concept of the grab-and-go red meat product range applied to 'hot fridge' application
  • develop product concepts that adhere to hot fridge settings and meat specifications
  • understand consumer and market insights to inform the next stage of product development, including trends such as reducing food waste, increasing convenience for industrial kitchens and the delivery of consistent eating quality experiences from secondary meat cuts.

Key findings

If 25% of restaurants and aged care facilities and 10% of fuel stations in Australia adopted a red meat grab-and-go product, it would generate approximately $150 million in sales.

Initial trials indicate that the grab-and-go products could last several days at a hot, ready-to-eat temperature without impacting the levels of bacteria or eating quality.

Small retail outlets that use the hot fridge technology report it significantly reduces their electricity bills by approximately $400 a month.

Benefits to industry

Combining the quality of slow cooked meats with the efficiency of fast service can unlock new opportunities for red meat and reduce food waste.

Transforming secondary red meat cuts into tender and moist products via the hot fridge also represents a competitor to chicken, which is often the default option for grab-and-go cooked meals. If marketed correctly, this technology could enable secondary cuts to become common foodservice dishes, create new market opportunities and increase the profitability of the red meat industry.

MLA action

MLA has commenced preliminary discussions with aged care providers as part of exploring new red meat menu solutions and emerging technology platforms created by the hot fridge technology.

Recent increases in the desire for meat snacks to be available at petrol stations and convenience stores has also renewed interest in the potential for grab-and-go meals. MLA Donor Company is scoping new projects for integrating the hot fridge into this area.

Future research

Exploring new technology platforms that address key pain points such as reducing food waste, limiting energy use and that deliver consistent quality and convenience remain key drivers for innovating with Australian red meat.

Customised product formulations, pack designs, branding and shelf life validation protocols will now need to be completed by industry to progress the hot fridge opportunity.

More information

Contact email: reports@mla.com.au
Primary researcher: Greenleaf Enterprises Pty Ltd