Aviagen is investigating the important matter of chicken-meat flavor, thanks to a scientific collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), which has a brand-new state-of-the-art mobile meat laboratory.

Aviagen prides itself on its pioneering approach to new technology and new ways to ensure product improvement – and employment of SRUC’s mobile meat laboratory is proving to be an invaluable tool in helping the company to maintain that goal. “We’re using SRUC’s mobile meat laboratory to carry out taste evaluations at Aviagen’s HQ for Research and Development,” says Santiago Avendano, Aviagen’s global director of genetics. “The laboratory is fully equipped with advanced meat analysis equipment and is specifically designed for taste panel data collection, which is invaluable to us.”

The laboratory caters for up to twelve tasters at a time, with each set of a dozen tests taking around ten minutes. The resultant large and detailed data sets can help Aviagen to fully explore the complex links between chemical and sensory attributes of chicken meat and its taste.

SRUC – undertaking industry-wide collaborations

SRUC, working together with the Centre for Innovation & Livestock Excellence, use the mobile laboratory to collaborate with many stakeholders in the agri-food sector, including breeding companies and also supermarkets. “Consumers are taking an ever greater interest in meat products with better quality and taste,” says Neil Clelland, geneticist at SRUC’s Animal and Veterinary Sciences Research Division, “and the mobile meat laboratory presents a great opportunity to try and better understand their preferences.”

The research opportunities provided by the SRUC mobile meat laboratory complement Aviagen’s on-going research into all aspects of meat quality, allowing the company to build on existing work in this vitally important area of product development. “Consumer preferences for meat quality and taste ultimately influence our breeding decisions,” adds Avendano, “so this is a great opportunity for us to engage directly with the consumer and get invaluable feedback for our breeding program.”