Consumers are showing an increased interest in Old World-style meat products; products that have an “old fashioned” or “homemade” look. Small meat processors are well suited to produce Old World products because often they require special handling and just a little bit more labor than traditional products. It is quite possible to add an Old World-style product to your product line by making some modifications to the way you manufacture and label one of your traditional products. This concept of achieving a new product through a “line extension” often works well because a processor can introduce a new product with a new look without having to make major changes to their process flow or equipment. Following are some changes you can make to a traditional product to give it Old World characteristics.

Old World products have a homemade look. Each piece of product does not have to be identical. Link products are typically in natural casings. The links can be made by hand rather than on automated machinery. If they are smoked the smoke color is often a little bit on the dark side. If the product that is in a casing two inches or larger in diameter there are many Old World style casings that can be used. I like casings that give the outside of the product wither a diamond shape or rectangular pattern. There are casings that even have string embedded in them to give the product a hand tied look and some that will coat the outside of the product with spices. The important thing is to give the product a handmade look. One of the rules of marketing is that you must please the eyes first.

Typically Old World style products have a bold flavor. The flavor is often more intense than traditional items. In Old World style products the seasoning of choice is natural spices rather than spice extractives. Consumers expect to see visible spice in Old World products.

Texture is one area you may choose not to give your product a true Old World characteristic. Typically Old World products are ground rather than emulsified. They also have a particle size that is larger than traditional products. They may not have a higher percentage of fat; rather, the fat is in larger pieces so it is more visible. Most U.S. consumers so not like large chunks of fat in sausage products. Typically Old World style products are manufactured from beef and/or pork. Not a lot of mechanically serrated meat is used in Old World style products.

Generally, the very first thing a consumer sees is your label. Give it an Old World look.

As you travel across the U.S. many towns or areas are linked to a particular ethnic background. Whether it is Polish, Scandinavian, German, Italian, etc, there is tremendous opportunity for small meat processors to produce Old World style products for a particular area.

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