The quality attributes of South African rabbit meat and consumer attitudes towards it

Nkhabutlane, Pulane (2004)

Thesis (MA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Meat processing industries in South Africa are faced with the challenge to produce a variety of white meats. This is due to the fact that consumers tend to consume less red meat and more chicken and pork that are perceived to be healthier due to the negative publicity surrounding red meat and health. The nutritional emphasis is on leaner carcasses and an increase in the consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids while reducing the ratio of n-6:n-3 polyunsaturated fats in the diet. Another way in which this can be achieved is through introducing rabbit meat which has low fat, low cholesterol content and high protein content, while displaying a positive fatty acid profile. Carcass quality and meat quality in rabbits may to a large extent be affected by age of slaughter and type of breed. This study had a dual purpose. Firstly it aimed at quantifying the effects of breed and age on parameters pertaining to carcass quality and meat quality of commercial rabbits, namely California breed and hybrid (California x Dutch red). Secondly, to determine the differences between ethnic groups on their perceptions towards rabbit meat, thereby providing information on its marketing potential. To accomplish the first objective 50 rabbits from the two breeds were housed in individual cages, weighed on weekly basis and fed ad libitum. The rabbits were slaughtered at 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17 weeks of age (n=5 from each breed). For the second objective the perceptions of three ethnic groups on factors affecting consumers' choice of rabbit meat were determined through a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire was tested for validity beforehand. There was no significant difference between the two breeds regarding body weight, feed intake, carcass weight and drip loss. The California breed had a higher dressing percentage (53.7%) and meat yield (29.2%) compared to the hybrid (52.5% and 27.5% respectively). Age treatments showed a highly significant difference on all parameters investigated. Increasing the age proportionately increased the amount of fat, while the moisture content decreased. The California breed exhibited higher percentages of fat compared to the hybrid at all ages of treatment. California breed contained more phosphorus, magnesium and zinc as opposed to the hybrid, the only exception being copper, where the hybrid had higher concentrations. The total fatty acid (169.2 mg/100 g) of the California breed was higher than that of the hybrid (133.5 mg/100 g). As a result there were more saturated fatty acids (55.4 mg/100 g) and monounsaturated fatty acids (62.3 mg/100 g) in the California breed than in the hybrid (44.2 and 45.6 mg/100 g respectively). Both breeds had 67% unsaturated fatty acids. Although there was no significant difference between the P:S ratio of the two rabbit breeds, the values obtained were higher (+0.9) than the value of 0.7. This is an indication that the rabbit meat contains a P:S ratio that could be considered very desirable. The n-6:n-3 ratio for both breeds were high (11.6 for California and 12.7 for hybrid). The cholesterol and amino acid profile of the two breeds were not affected by the type of breed. The consumer survey indicated that 52% (n=158) of respondents had never eaten rabbit meat before due to reasons such as scarcity, lack of knowledge about the meat, associating rabbits with pets and cultural constraints. Nevertheless, 57% of these people were optimistic about eating rabbit meat. In addition, having eaten rabbit meat before seemed to contribute positively towards acceptance of rabbit meat. Generally, respondents preferred purchasing rabbit meat in portions as opposed to live or whole carcasses. Their decision to purchase rabbit meat was firstly driven by price, thereafter freshness, leanness and tenderness of meat. The respondents expect to buy rabbit meat at a price lower than that of chicken. Rabbit meat contained low sodium and high proportion polyunsaturated fatty acids-some of the most important food attributes required to maintain and improve health. However, most of the respondents in this study were not familiar with the positive attributes of rabbit meat and need to be taught the benefits of this product.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In Suid Afrika is daar 'n uitdaging vir die vleisproduserende voedselindustrieë om 'n verskeidenheid witvleis te bemark. Dit word toegeskryf aan die feit dat verbruikers minder rooi vleis as hoender en vark eet wat as meer gesond beskou word weens die negatiewe publisiteit wat geassosieer word met rooivleis en gesondheid. Die voedingsfokus is op maerder karkasse, groter inname van polionversadigde vetsure, en 'n vermindering in die verhouding n-6:n-3 poli-onversadigde vetsure in die dieet. Een van die maniere waarop dit gedoen kan word, is die bekendstelling van konynvleis wat gekenmerk word deur lae vetinhoud, lae cholesterolinhoud en 'n hoë proteïninhoud, en 'n positiewe vetsuurprofiel. Karkas- en vleiskwaliteit van konyne word tot 'n groot mate geaffekteer deur ouderdom van slagting en die ras. Hierdie studie het 'n tweeledige doel. Eerstens mik dit na die kwantifisering van die effek van ras en ouderdom op die parameters wat met karkas- en vleiskwaliteit van die Kaliforniese ras en die kruisgeteëlde ras (Kaliforniese X Hollandse rooi) verband hou. Tweedens, om die verskille in etniese groepe vas te stel met betrekking tot hulle persepsies van die faktore wat hulle keuse van konynvleis beïnvloed, en op dié wyse inligting te verkry tov die bemarkingspotensiaal daarvan. Om in die eerste doelwit te slaag is 50 konyne van die twee rasse in individuele hokke gehuisves, op 'n weeklikse basis geweeg en ad libitum gevoer. Die konyne was geslag op 9, 11, 13, 15 en 17 weke (n=5 vir elke ras). Vir die tweede doelwit, is die persepsies van drie etniese groepe oor die faktore wat die verbruikerskeuse van konynvleis kan bepaal, mbv 'n gestruktureerde vraelys bepaal. Die vraelys is vooraf vir geldigheid evalueer. Daar was geen beduidende verskil tussen die twee rasse wat betref liggaamsmassa, voedselinname, karkasgewig en dripverlies nie. Die Kaliforniese ras het 'n hoër uitslag-persentasie (53.7%) en vleisopbrengs (29,2%) in vergelyking met die kruisgeteëlde ras (52.5% en 27.5% respektiewelik) gehad. Ouderdom het hoogsbeduidende verskille op al die parameters wat ondersoek was, getoon. Die toename in ouderdom was gepaardgaande met proporsionele toename in karkasvet en afname in vog. Die Kaliforniese ras het, by alle ouderdomsbehandelings, in vergelyking met die kruisgeteëlde ras, 'n hoër persentasie vet opgelewer. Die Kaliforniese ras het teenoor die kruisgeteëlde ras hoër fosfor, magnesium en sink bevat. Die uitsondering was koper waar die kruisgeteëlde ras 'n hoër waarde gehad het. Die totale vetsure vir die Kaliforniese ras (169.2 mg/100 g) was hoër as vir die kruisgeteëlde ras (133.5 mg/100 g). Om dié rede was daar in die Kaliforniese ras meer versadigde vetsure (55.4 mg/100 g) en monoonversadigde vetsure (62.3 mg/100 g) as vir die kruisgeteëlde ras (44.2 mg/100 g en 45.6 mg/100g onderskeidelik). Beide rasse het 67% onversadigde vetsure gehad. Hoewel daar geen beduidende verskille was in die polionversadigde:versadigde (P:V) verhouding nie, was die waardes hoër (+0.9) as die 0.7 wat aanbeveel word. Die n-6:n-3 verhouding vir beide rasse was hoog. (11.6 vir die Kaliforniese ras en 12.7 vir die kruisgeteëlde ras). Die cholesterol- en die aminosuurprofiel was nie deur die ras beïnvloed nie. Die verbruikersnavorsing het getoon dat 52% (n=158) van die respondente om verskeie redes nog nie konynvleis geëet het nie, weens redes soos onverkrygbaarheid, gebrekkige kennis van die vleis, die assosiasie van konyne met troeteldiere en kulturele beperkinge. Desnieteenstaande is daar 57% van die respondente wat optimisties is oor die eet van konynvleis. Die eet van konynvleis by vorige geleenthede het bygedra tot die positiewe aanvaarding van konynvleis. Oor die algemeen het die respondente verkies om konynvleis in porsies te koop, in plaas van lewendig of heel karkasse. Die besluit om konynvleis te koop, is hoofsaaklik gedryf deur prys, daarna deur varsheid, maerheid en sagtheid van die vleis. Die respondente verwag dat die prys vir konynvleis laer sal wees as vir hoender. Konynvleis bevat lae natrium en 'n hoë verhounding poli-onversadigde vetsure - van die mees belangrike voedingeienskappe om gesondheid te handhaaf en te verbeter. Ongelukkig was meeste van die respondente in hierdie studie nie vertroud met die positiewe eienskappe van konynvleis nie, en moet hulle geleer word deur middel van omvattende bemarkingsaksies van die voordele van hierdie produk.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50174
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