The Beef Information Centre (BIC) has helped develop a new “retort pouch packaging” system for both retail and foodservice use. Retorting uses heat and pressure to cook vacuum sealed prepackaged meat. Since the meat is cooked in the package, the package must be strong enough to withstand relatively high temperatures (100-130 degrees C).
Retort processing used to be limited to the use of glass and metal containers. The flexible pouches allow reduced heating times, enhanced graphics and greater shelf appeal.
BIC says retort processing improves product eating consistency regardless of age and grade, especially for hip and chuck cuts, producing fork-tender beef without requiring aging time or other process control like mechanical tenderizing and moisture enhancement/marination. This creates an excellent opportunity to utilize secondary cuts from commercial/mature beef.
“The process is suitable for any beef cut, resulting in restaurant-quality beef, whether presented as whole muscle, beef strips, crumble or cubes,” John Baker, BIC’s executive director of trade marketing said in a release. “It allows for unique flavour profiles, has many different applications and the process creates a sterile environment.
The sealed package also allows for segregation of specialty products such as halal and kosher beef.