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Comparative Quality Assessment of Meat Nuggets Prepared from Meat of Different Food Animals

Sushant Sharma Vikas Pathak Veer Pal Singh Meena Goswami Awasthi Sanjay Kumar Bharti
Vol 8(1), 139-148

The present study was envisaged for comparative quality assessment of meat nuggets prepared from different meat. Nuggets were prepared from chicken, chevon and carabeef following standard method and moulded into nuggets. The pH values were significantly (P<0.05) different in nuggets. The emulsion stability was found highest for chicken meat and minimum in chevon nuggets. Significantly (P<0.05) higher fat values were in nuggets buffalo meat nuggets whereas significantly (P<0.05) lower protein content was recorded in chevon nuggets. The sensory studies revealed that scores of colour and appearance, flavour, texture, juiciness, meat flavour intensity and overall acceptability were significantly (P<0.05) higher in chevon nuggets followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets. However, mouth coating scores were non significantly higher in chicken nuggets. It was concluded that nuggets made by chevon meat were adjudged best by sensory panellists followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets and can be stored under refrigeration upto 20 days.

Keywords : Chevon Carabeef Chicken Meat Nuggets


Meat is most widely used important food commodity of animal origin food. It contains quality protein, palatability enhancing fat, energy providing carbohydrates, vitamins as well as essential fatty acids and micronutrients which make it a balanced diet for most of the people. It plays a very vital role in keeping the human body strong in order to provide energy, health and vigour and is important for the physical well being as well as mental and intellectual development. Meat also contains significant amounts of minerals like iron, zinc, copper, sodium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. It is essentially an excellent source of vitamin B complex specially thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

India has a huge livestock population which includes 190.9 million cattle, 108.7 million buffalo, 65.1 million sheep, 135.2 million goats, 10.3 million pigs (DAHD, 2012) and is the world’s 5th largest producer of meat (MoFPI, 2014). The present production of meat is 6.23 million tons (FAO, 2014), which is 2.21% of the world’s total meat production of 311.8 million tons. The compounded average growth rate during the last two decades works out to be 4.5%. It is noticed that about 7.3% cattle, 11.3% buffaloes, 33.7% sheep, 33.6% goats, 88.9% pigs and 57.6% chicken are slaughtered each year (Ranjan, 2014). The domestic per capita availability of meat is 5.5kg/head/year which is far below the recommendation of ICMR i.e. 10.95kg/head/year. Processed meat industry is rapidly growing world over due to change in life style, growing urbanization, increasing per capita income and working couple. Ready to eat meat products have become an internal part of the eating habits of the majority of the world’s population. They are prepared from meat and non meat components to yield products with specified functional properties.

Nuggets are basically an ethnic type of snack food relished not only in Indian subcontinent but also throughout the world. These are a ready to cook/eat product with simple preparation, makes it a popular choice of consumers for a quick meal. The main composition of nugget is meat, usually from chicken, chevon or combination with vegetable protein and gum. The acceptance of consumer for meat nuggets principally depends upon certain factors like their palatability, nutritional value, convenience, protein quality, and on the stability of product. The quality of nuggets can be significantly affected by processing, raw material and ingredient factors, either from nutritional value or overall acceptability by consumers. Only those nuggets with high nutritional value, low cholesterol, good textural properties, nice flavour and taste profile will become the favourite choice of consumers. Due to the high competition between manufactures, investment in advanced technologies has been necessary in order to produce high quality products.

The products developed from different meat are available but their composition and sensorial qualities vary with the meat quality. Keeping in view the huge availability of chicken, chevon and carabeef, their comparative nutritional value and demand of convenience /value added meat products; a study was conducted to assess the comparative quality of meat nuggets prepared from chicken, chevon and carabeef.

Materials and Methods

Location of Experiment

The experiments were conducted in the Department of Livestock Products Technology, College of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, U.P. Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Pashu Chikitsa Vigyan Vishwavidyalaya Evam Go-Anusandhan Sansthan, Mathura, 281001 (UP), India.

Source of Raw Materials                    

Meat required for the experiments was procured from the authorized retail meat shops and dressed at meat shop by halal/jhatka method. Dressed meat was packed in low density polyethylene pouches and kept in deep freezer at -18±1oC overnight and subsequently used for product formulation. Refined wheat flour or Maida (RWF) of standard brand was procured from local market. Condiments used in the study viz. onion and garlic were purchased from local market. The fresh, clean onion and garlic were cut in to small pieces after peeling off the external coverings. The cut pieces were weighed in a ratio of 3:1 and ground in a food processor (Inalsa make) for 2-3 minutes till fine pasty consistency was attained. The food grade refined oil was purchased from local market. The salt used in the study was food grade sodium chloride (Tata salt) and procured from local market. Packaging material like Low density Polyethylene (LDPE) bags of 250 gauges of natural colour were sourced from local market and sterilized by exposing to U.V. light for 30 minutes before use.

Product Preparation

A recipe comprising of lean meat along with salt, spices, condiments and preservatives was used for the preparation of meat nuggets from various meat species (Table 1).

Table 1: Recipe for meat nuggets

S. No. Ingredients % of mix
1 Lean meat 75.2
2 Refined vegetable oil 6
3 Ice flakes 8
4 Salt 1.5
5 Dry spices mix 2.0
6 Condiments 3.0
7 Refined wheat flour 4.0
8 Sodium Tri Poly Posphate (STPP) 0.3
  Total 100

Meat was procured from local meat shops preferably of thigh muscle of chicken, goat and buffalo separately. Deboning was done manually and lean meat was cut into smaller chunks and minced in a Sirmen  mincer (MOD- TC 32 R10 U.P. INOX, Marsango, Italy) with 6mm plate followed by 4mm plate. The common salt, vegetable oil, refined wheat flour (maida), sodium tripolyphosphate, spice mixture and condiment mix were added to weighed meat according to formulation. Meat emulsions of chicken, chevon and carabeef were prepared separately for nuggets preparation using Bowl Chopper (MOD C 15 2.8G 4.0 HP, Marsango, Italy). For emulsion preparation minced meat was chopped with salt and sodium tripolyphosphate for 1.5 minute. Water in the form of crushed ice was added and chopping continued for 1 minute. This was followed by addition of refined vegetable oil and chopping for another 1 to 2 minutes. This was followed by addition of spice mixture, condiments and other ingredients and again chopped for 1.5 to 2 minutes to get the desired emulsion. Adequate care was taken to keep the end point temperature below 180C by preparing the emulsion in cool hours of morning, by addition of meat and other ingredients in chilled/partially thawed form and by addition of crushed ice or ice water. The prepared emulsions were then moulded in moulds/boxes and kept for steam cooking without pressure for 35-40 minutes. After cooling nuggets were subjected to analysis.

Quality Evaluation

Samples were subjected to quality evaluation in terms of physico-chemical and sensory attributes. Moisture, protein, fat and ash content were estimated by following the method of AOAC (1995). The pH was estimated by the method of Trout et al. (1992). Emulsion stability was estimated by following the method of Baliga and Madaiah (1970). The weight of meat nuggets were recorded before and after cooking. The cooking yield was calculated as under and expressed as percentage (Murphy et al., 1975). The sensory quality of samples was evaluated by using 8 point hedonic scale following the procedure of Keeton et al. (1983) where 8 denoted extremely desirable and 1denoted extremely poor. A sensory panel (semi trained) of seven judges drawn from postgraduate students and faculty of Veterinary College, DUVASU, Mathura were requested to evaluate the product for different quality attributes viz., general appearance, texture, juiciness, saltiness, flavour and overall acceptability. The developed nuggets from different meat types were stored under refrigeration (4±20C) for 20 days. During storage for microbiological quality (Standard Plate Count and Psychrotrophic Count) were estimated by using conventional method recommended by American Public Health Association (1984) and free fatty acid values by the procedures described by Koniecko (1979).

Fig. 1: Standard plate counts (log cfu/g) of meat nuggets stored under refrigeration

Fig. 2: Psychrotrophic counts (log cfu/g) of meat nuggets stored under refrigeration

Statistical Analysis

The data obtained in the study on various parameters were statistically analyzed on ‘SPSS-16.0’ software package as per standard methods of Snedecor and Cochran (1995). Duplicate samples were drawn for each parameter and the experiment was replicated thrice (n=6). Sensory evaluation was performed by a panel of seven member judges three times, so total observations being 21 (n=21). Data were subjected to one way analysis of variance and Duncan’s Multiple Range Test (DMRT) for comparing the means to find the effects between samples. Two ways analysis of variance was utilized to analyse the data obtained in storage period.


Physico-Chemical Properties

The mean physico-chemical values obtained on meat nuggets prepared from different types of meat are presented in Table 2.

Table 2: Mean±SE values of physico-chemical characteristics of meat nuggets prepared from different meat animal species (n=6)

Parameters T-1 T-2 T-3
pH 6.12a ±0.01 6.08b ±0.01 5.98c ±0.01
Emulsion stability (%) 93.11a ±0.72 87.91b ±1.34 88.85b ±0.59
Cooking yield (%) 87.42a ±0.94 82.03b ±1.14 85.52a ±0.90

Means bearing different superscripts (a,b,c,d…….) within row differ significantly (P<0.05); Where T-1= chicken meat nuggets T-2= chevon nuggets T-3= buffalo nuggets

There was significant (P<0.05) difference in mean pH values of meat nuggets prepared from meat of different species. Significant (P<0.05) difference was observed in the mean values of emulsion stability of chicken meat nuggets when compared to the nuggets prepared from meat of other species. A significantly (P<0.05) low cooking yield of chevon nuggets was recorded than the nuggets prepared from meat of other species.

Proximate Estimation

The mean proximate values obtained on meat nuggets prepared from different types of meat are presented in Table 3.

Table 3: Mean±SE values of proximate estimation of meat nuggets prepared from different meat animal species (n=6)

Parameters (%) T-1 T-2 T-3
Moisture 63.80  ±0.14 63.91 ±0.34 63.28 ±0.41
Fat 12.92b ±0.26 13.21b ±0.39 14.16a ±0.08
Protein 19.22a ±0.10 18.26b ±0.12 19.01a ±0.18
Ash 1.92 ±0.02 1.93 ±0.06 1.93 ±0.04

Means bearing different superscripts (a,b,c,d…….) within row differ significantly (P<0.05); Where T-1= chicken meat nuggets T-2= chevon nuggets T-3= buffalo nuggets

There was no significant (P>0.05) difference in mean moisture content of meat nuggets prepared with meat of different species. A significantly (P<0.05) higher fat content of carabeef nuggets was reported than other species. Significantly (P<0.05) lower protein occurred in chevon nuggets than nuggets of other species. The higher protein content was found in chicken nuggets. There was no significant (P>0.05) difference in ash content of meat nuggets of different species however there was increase in ash content of meat nuggets than fresh meat of different species.

Sensory Evaluation

The mean sensory scores obtained on meat nuggets prepared from different types of meat are presented in Table 4.

Table 4: Mean±SE scores of sensory profile of meat nuggets prepared from different meat animal species (n=21)

Attributes T-1 T-2 T-3
Colour and appearance 6.40b ±0.10 7.13a ±0.10 6.53b ±0.11
Flavour 6.20b ±0.13 7.16a ±0.11 6.96a ±0.11
Texture 6.20b ±0.13 7.16a ±0.11 6.96 a±0.11
Mouth coating 5.73 ±0.15 5.46 ±0.30 5.60 ±0.26
Juiciness 6.10c ±0.10 6.93a ±0.11 6.53b ±0.10
Saltiness 6.76 ±0.09 6.96 ±0.13 6.90 ±0.12
Meat flavour Intensity 6.60b ±0.10 7.03a±0.11 6.73ab ±0.10
Overall acceptability 6.03c ±0.08 7.26a ±0.08 6.83b ±0.13

Means bearing different superscripts (a,b,c,d…….) within row differ significantly (P<0.05); Where T-1= chicken meat nuggets T-2= chevon nuggets T-3= buffalo nuggets

A significantly (P<0.05) higher mean scores on appearance and colour of chevon nuggets was noticed when compared with other nuggets. The flavour of chevon nuggets scored significantly (P<0.05) higher followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets. The texture of chevon nuggets was the best followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets. The highest score for mouth coating was obtained by chicken nuggets. Chevon nuggets were most juicy followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets. There was no significant difference in mean scores of saltiness in nuggets prepared with chicken, chevon and carabeef nuggets. However a good miscibility of chevon and carabeef nuggets was observed than chicken nuggets. Meat flavour intensity of chevon nuggets was highest followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets. Chevon nuggets tasted best followed by carabeef and chicken nuggets.

Storage Study

The microbiological evaluation of prepared nuggets with different types of meat and their storage for 20 days under refrigeration showed continuous increase in SPC and psychrotrophic counts. The initial microbial load was noticed higher in T-3 product and lowest in product T-2. On storage under refrigeration no significant differences were observed among the nuggets produced from different types of meat.

The free fatty acid values were found continuously increasing with the advancement of storage days irrespective of the product type. Thereafter, product was not in condition to human use. The minimal free fatty acid values were recorded in product T-3 and maximum in product T-1.

Fig. 3: FFA values (% oleic acid) of meat nuggets stored under refrigeration



Physico-Chemical Characteristics

Higher pH in meat nuggets in comparison to fresh meat may be attributed to higher degree of oxidation and loss of free acidic groups of meat protein upon cooking (Lawrie, 1998; Lingaiah and Reddy, 2001).

The ability of emulsion to hold liquid is influenced by its protein content and since the protein content in broiler meat was higher, protein acted as an emulsifying agent. This might be the probable cause for higher emulsion stability of broiler meat emulsion. Our findings were in close proximity with that of Biswas et al. (2006). Froning (1972) reported that the duck patties had low emulsion stability due to higher fat content. Higher cooking yield was reported in broiler meat nuggets which may be attributed to better retention of water and fat in meat matrix as suggested by Patil et al. (2003). Similar observations were made by Biswas  et al. (2006) for patties from broiler and spent hen meat.

Proximate Values

The reduction in moisture content in meat nuggets than fresh meat of different species may be attributed to the loss of moisture due to coagulation of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic protein upon cooking (Warris, 2000). These findings were in agreement with those reported by Lingaiah and Reddy (2001). The higher fat percentage in carabeef nuggets than other nuggets can be attributed to the higher fat content in fresh carabeef and greater retention of fat in their nuggets. Kandeepan et al. (2009) reported similar findings on fat contents in buffalo patties. Higher protein in chicken nuggets might be associated to higher protein value of raw meat. These finding are in agreement with Lukman et al. (2009). Higher ash content in nuggets than fresh meat may be attributed to the raw materials used during processing of nuggets.

Sensory Evaluation

Appearance is the visual identification of quality of meat products on the basis of colour, marbling and water holding capacity or in short it is the total physical outlook of meat products hence affects the acceptability of product. Similarly the colour of meat also accounts for its acceptability as also suggested by Ognjanovic (1974) and Charles (1982). Flavour is a complex sensation comprising mainly of odor and taste of product and sensed collectively by oral and olfactory senses. The flavour quality of meat products is dependent on fat retention and intrinsic qualities of meat and moreover choice of the panellists (Robertson et al., 1983). Better texture in chevon nuggets could be attributed to the better water binding and compatibility of chevon for meat nuggets development. The inherent tender nature of chevon further could be a deciding factor.  These findings are in agreement with Ahrens et al. (2011) for beef patties. The highest score for mouth coating was obtained by chicken nuggets and the possible reason could be presence of higher unsaturated fatty acids in chicken meat. Higher juiciness in chevon nuggets was observed and the reason might be higher water retention and fat content present in chevon nuggets. The same findings were also advanced by Pati et al. (1992) for buffalo patties. Higher meat flavour intensity in chevon nuggets could be due to compatibility of ingredients used for preparation of meat nuggets, fat retention and intrinsic qualities of meat and moreover choice of the panellists also accounts for acceptability of product (Robertson et al., 1983). Overall acceptability score is attributed to all the parameters considered for acceptance and rejection of the product it indicated that the chevon nuggets is the preferential product choice of the panellists (Pati et al. 1992; Sahoo and Anjaneyulu, 1997).

Storage Study

The increasing trend of microbiological count in present study was similar to the findings were reported by Kumar et al. (2007) in chicken meat patties. Liu et al. (1991) reported increase in psychrotrophic counts lean ground beef patties during aerobic packaging and storage under refrigeration. Modi et al. (2007) reported that freshly prepared dehydrated chicken kebab mix had FFA values of 0.99%, which gradually increased during 6 months of storage. The FFA increased as storage days increases which could be due to growth of certain species of bacteria during refrigeration storage (Kumar et al., 2011). The Lower FFA observed in some products could be attributed to presence of lower level of fat and type of fat present in these products.


From this study, it was concluded that the overall quality of meat nuggets on sensory basis follows the acceptability trend in the order of chevon> carabeef > chicken. So chevon nuggets may be recommended for value added products like nuggets. The emulsion of all three products showed significant (P<0.05) differences with each other in pH. Emulsion stability of chicken was noticed significantly (P<0.05) than chevon and buffalo nuggets. Similarly cooking yield was significantly (P<0.05) lower in chevon than other nuggets. Nutritionally no significant (P<0.05) differences were observed in moisture and ash values among the studied nuggets. Protein content was noticed higher in chicken nuggets while fat values in buffalo meat nuggets.


Authors are highly thankful to the Hon’ble Vice-chancellor of the university to provide the requisite amount and facility to carry out the research work


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