Benchmarking value in the pork supply chain: Processing characteristics and consumer evaluations of pork bellies of different thicknesses when manufactured into bacon.
Additional Document Info
Impact of belly thickness on processing yields and consumer evaluations of finished bacon products was measured. Before processing through a commercial facility, pork bellies (n=96 per group) were sorted into three target thickness groups: "thin" (approximately 2.0cm); "average" (approximately 2.5cm); "thick" (approximately 3.0cm). Processing yields at various production points were recorded and samples from each thickness group were evaluated by consumers for palatability characteristics and visual appearance. Bacon manufactured using "thick" bellies had the highest processing yields through the smoking and cooking phase. "Thin" bellies had the lowest slicing yields and generated the highest percentage of less valuable "#2 slices" (slice profile less than 1.9cm at any point) and "ends and pieces." Consumers found that bacon manufactured from "average" thickness bellies did not have deficiencies in palatability characteristics, but bacon manufactured from "thin" bellies lacked crispiness and bacon manufactured from "thick" bellies lacked flavor. Consumers found the lean-to-fat ratio and the visual appearance of bacon from "thick" bellies was less appealing than bacon from "thin" and "thick" bellies. Moreover, consumers showed much stronger purchase intent for bacon from "thin" and "average" bellies. Belly thickness impacted processing yield and consumer palatability evaluations of bacon. Producers need to minimize production of "thin" bellies because of reduced processing yields and "thick" bellies because of reduced consumer appeal.