Abstract: The objectives of this study were to use a meat flavor lexicon to identify and quantify flavor differences among different types of meats such as beef, chicken, lamb, pork, and turkey, and to identify and quantify specific flavor attributes associated with “beef flavor” notes. A trained descriptive panel with 11 participants used a previously developed meat lexicon composed of 18 terms to evaluate the flavor of beef, chicken, pork, turkey, and lamb samples. Results show that beef and lamb samples can be described by flavor attributes such as barny, bitter, gamey, grassy, livery, metallic, and roast beef. Inversely related to these samples were pork and turkey and those attributes that were closely related to them, namely brothy, fatty, salty, sweet, and umami. Chicken was not strongly related to the other types of meats or the attributes used. The descriptive panel also evaluated samples of ground beef mixed with chicken to identify and quantify flavor attributes associated with a “beef flavor.” Meat patties for this portion consisted of ground beef mixed with ground chicken in varying amounts: 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% beef, with the remainder made up of chicken. Beef and beef-rich patties (75% beef) were more closely related to flavor attributes such as astringent, bloody, fatty, gamey, metallic, livery, oxidized, grassy, and roast beef, while chicken was more closely associated with brothy, juicy, sour, sweet, and umami. This research provides information regarding the specific flavor attributes that differentiate chicken and beef products and provides the first set of descriptors that can be associated with “beefy” notes.
Potential Application: The use of a standardized flavor lexicon will allow meat producers to identify specific flavors present in their products. The impact is to identify and quantify negative and positive flavors in the product with the ultimate goal of optimizing processing or cooking conditions and improve the quality of meat products.