Fresh reindeer meat, please

There is a lot of demand for fresh reindeer meat, but it is almost only possible to buy it frozen. Researchers from Nofima Mat have been finding out what packaging and storage methods are best for keeping reindeer meat in top condition. There is a lot of demand for fresh reindeer meat, but it is almost only possible to buy it frozen. Researchers from Nofima Mat have been finding out what packaging and storage methods are best for keeping reindeer meat in top condition.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Marit Kvalvåg Pettersen
There is a lot of demand for fresh reindeer meat, but it is almost only possible to buy it frozen. Researchers from Nofima Mat have been finding out what packaging and storage methods are best for keeping reindeer meat in top condition.
There is a lot of demand for fresh reindeer meat, but it is almost only possible to buy it frozen. Researchers from Nofima Mat have been finding out what packaging and storage methods are best for keeping reindeer meat in top condition.

There is a lot of demand for fresh reindeer meat, but it is almost only possible to buy it frozen. Researchers from Nofima Mat have been finding out what packaging and storage methods are best for keeping reindeer meat in top condition.

“Traditionally, reindeer meat has been sold frozen. But we can raise both the quality and the feeling of luxury if we can also offer the meat fresh. Many consumers are on the lookout for exciting new food experiences. So it is important to tailor the storage method to market needs and to find the packaging that is most suitable – so that the product lasts longer and becomes more saleable,” says Maria Mielnik, research scientist at Nofima Mat.

Active packaging works best

Mielnik and research colleague Marit Kvalvåg Pettersen carried out trials in which they compared different packaging methods for reindeer meat.

“We have tried out reindeer meat packed in a modified atmosphere (MAP) consisting of CO2 and N2, vacuum packed meat and active packaging with a CO2 emitter. We found that active packaging with a CO2 emitter was the best solution,” explains Kvalvåg Pettersen.

Several different analyses were carried out on reindeer meat slices stored for 21 days at +4°C. The packed meat’s appearance, moisture loss, bacterial growth, antioxidant capacity, colour and cooking loss were all investigated.

The results of the survey indicate that fresh reindeer meat can be stored for three weeks without problems, provided the storage temperature does not exceed 4°C.

Less moisture loss with a CO2 emitter

“In terms of appearance, there was a clear difference in the packs with and without CO2 emitters. The packs with emitters had sufficient gas throughout the storage period and there was no tendency for the covering film to fall down onto the product – which happened in the packs without CO2 emitters,” says Kvalvåg Pettersen.

Moisture loss can make the meat less juicy, and is therefore to be avoided.

“After seven days there were already differences in moisture loss between the different packaging methods, and throughout the storage period, moisture loss was considerably less for the reindeer meat packed with CO2 emitters than with traditional MAP and vacuum,” says Kvalvåg Pettersen.

While bacterial growth after 13 days’ storage was lower for the meat packed with CO2 emitters, there was no difference between the packaging methods after 21 days.

“The results of the trial confirm our earlier findings about reindeer meat’s great antioxidant capacity, and the capacity was the same regardless of packaging method,” advises Mielnik.

“With colour too, there was no obvious difference between the packaging types. This is probably because the residual oxygen level was very low when they were all packed,” says Kvalvåg Pettersen.

The trial was financed by SFR, the committee which allocates funding for research into reindeer husbandry, and Nofima Mat.

Food safety and quality   Raw materials and process optimisation  

Related content