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“Let’s talk about taste”

Not only is pork used for frying and grilling, it is also vital for sausage production. It is irreplaceable as an ingredient – but although a semi-luxury item, however, it is indescribable. At least until now, because if the Danish Association of the Agriculture and Food Industry gets its wish, things will soon change.

Vicky Enné Ryge, Head Consultant for Market, Trade and Nutrition in Copenhagen, is heavily involved in a “sensory” project. Her goal is to develop a descriptive language for pork that expresses its typical sensory characteristics and allows them to be communicated in detail, analogous to the many designations used for coffee, wine and bakery products. Together with helpers from various scientific disciplines, trades and backgrounds, she has embarked on a verbal journey through the world of flavors that reflects as many aspects as possible. For this purpose, 14 samples were prepared and tasted by experts. One of the research committee’s results is that “the preparation method and meat texture have a great influence”. Intensive and varied flavors were especially evident with braised pork cheeks. Their aromas and characteristics are also influenced by whether they are prepared in a pot, pan, oven or on the grill. The connoisseur perceives tenderness, succulence and fattiness, as Lisbeth Ankersen, sensory scientist and chemist (Master of Science) states. Roasted, raw or cooked, samples from different parts of the pig were served in order to get to the bottom of the taste. All preparation was standardized in order to have a basis for comparison. In each case, the meat of a conventionally reared pig was tested, prepared according to DMRI specifications in flavor-neutral oil with 1 percent salt.

The aim is drawing customers’ attention to meat to animate more purchases as well as to highlight new quality aspects about cuts and preparation methods. Some 600 natural flavors and aromas were found in pork.

In the future, background details such as animal breeds, organic vs. conventional rearing methods, feed, and meat maturation will also be included. In short: “The aim is to communicate differently about pork in the future and to whet consumers’ appetites,” the initiators said. The view of seniors as classic regular users with high culinary demands should also not be neglected.

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