Food safety, price, nutritive value, meal convenience and appearance play an important role in determining whether consumers purchase meat, as well as the type and cut of meat. However, it is the eating experience or the quality of the meat product purchased that influences the consumer to repurchase that particular meat product. Hence consumer behaviors, attitudes and perceptions toward the quality of meat is an area that at present is commanding increased interest from all sectors of the meat industry.
The consumption of meat and meat products decreased in the last years in Hungary; however the rate of pork consumption is still important. In the year 2003 the total average meat consumption was 68.6 kg per capita. In the same year, as far as the whole meat market is concerned first was the poultry consumption (33.2 kg per capita per year), and the second was the pork consumption (27.1 kg per capita per year). The average beef consumption reached 4.1 kg while the fish purchase was only 3.4 kg. Pork industry decreased 2.7 per cent whilst pork export increased with 8.3 per cent.
Cattlemen have a responsibility to assure that only beef of the highest quality reaches the consumer. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has maintained a very strong position on beef safety and quality assurance for several years. The public has been assured that the beef at the retail counter is a very safe product for human consumption. In fact, beef produced in the United States is the safest in the world. The safety of the product is the highest priority for all involved in the beef industry. Included in beef safety and quality assurance is injection site lesion reduction.
Before poultry meat quality is addressed, the term quality should be clearly defined as it relates to poultry. This is a difficult task, because quality is "in the eye of the beholder." For example, someone trying to sell a product might view its quality in terms of how well it sells and how much people are willing to pay for it. However, this definition is incomplete, because it does not consider the product's character. Since people only buy what they like, the consumer's perspective of quality is more appropriate. When consumers buy a poultry product, cook and serve it to their families, they expect it to look, taste, and feel good in their mouth. If these characteristics do not meet the consumer's expectation, the product is considered to be of lower quality.
Dietary minerals are vital for maintaining life. They are involved in a myriad of metabolic and physiological processes critical to human and animal health and general well-being. With advances in mineral nutrition and detection capabilities, the importance of consuming adequate amounts of macro- (Ca, P, Na, Cl, Mg, K and S) and microminerals (Co, Cu, F, I, Fe, Mn, Mo, Se and Zn) has been emphasized.