Pork already has a great reputation as a healthy, lean protein source. Even with all of the nutrients pork already offers, researchers in Ontario are evaluating the additional health benefits and marketability of anti-oxidant enriched pork. This project, led by Peter Vingerhoeds, involves enriching pork with anti-oxidants through their feed. The study has already seen an increase in meat quality and consumer health benefits as a result of feeding hogs a blend of anti-oxidants. Currently in the final phase of the three-stage project, research and analysis has already shown Vingerhoeds and his team that anti-oxidants fed to hogs will not only offer a healthier product to the consumer, but will also retain more moisture in the meat, creating more tender, ideal coloured pork cuts, with a longer shelf life.
Anti-oxidants are known to promote better health when consumed, are considered a functional food and are naturally occurring in pork. Vingerhoeds and his team have been able to significantly increase the amount of anti-oxidants in fresh meat, enough to meet the suggested daily requirement of selenium, an important anti-oxidant, within a 135 gram serving of pork. With numerous health benefits, anti-oxidant enriched pork offers consumers with another healthy reason to pick pork.
Encouraged with the results of the research project to date, Vingerhoeds knows the next stage is a little more intimidating. They will investigate the marketability of the anti-oxidant enriched pork through consumer education, in-store product identification, pilot projects in select stores, and measuring the sales/ performance. If you come across nutrient enriched pork, will you give it a try?