Color of Fresh Pork in Meat Department Merchandisers
Pork color was found to be a major consideration for consumers in their decision to buy pork cuts.The color of fresh pork in meat department merchandisers was found to be a major consideration for consumers in their decision to buy pork cuts. Fresh pork is optimally pink. In one study, darker colored pork was preferred over pale pork, and consumers tended to avoid brown or grey pork which was interpreted as spoiled or old, even though this discoloration occurs long before the meat is spoiled in most cases.
Paler cuts of pork are thought to be tough and dry when cooked. Neither extreme of pale or dark is ideal and both are considered problems in the pork industry caused by genetics and the handling of the pig before and after slaughter.
Both PSE pork (pale, soft, and exudative or oozing) and DFD pork (dark, firm, and dry) can be affected by the amount of water in and on the pork cut. This water escapes from meat with a low pH (< 5.4) and can scatter light, making the pork appear to be lighter than it really is. In addition, oxygen permeable polyvinyl wrapping causes DFD pork to appear darker than if it is in vacuum packaging, and less appealing than medium pink pork cuts. Consumers tended to avoid pale and wet pork, preferring cuts that were medium or dark pink and then within that category preferring the dryer cuts.