Data of Charqui Consumption

Despite the advances in the technologies for food preservation, the consumption of traditional dried and salted meat products has persisted over time. Even though the steps of salting and drying of meat contribute to its preservation, they are currently applied more as a means to develop the unique sensory characteristics of the final products, which are greatly appreciated. The cultural aspect of such traditional products is also relevant in influencing the consumption habits. However, when these products are manufactured under non-controlled conditions, the final products may present variations in taste and poor quality, which leads to its rejection by consumers (Ishihara 2012).

According to the National Association of Dried Meat Industries (ANICS), 95% of Brazilian dried meat production is destined for the internal market and the export accounts for small quantities of the produced charqui (to some countries in Africa and Central America). However, the product has the potential to be better explored on the international trade market (ANICS 2012).

Brazil is a world leading country in bovine meat production. It ranks second in the world for cattle herd and meat production and is the first world’s source for these products. Its cattle herd in 2013, accounted for more than two million of livestock, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE 2010a). In the same year, beef production rates accounted for more than nine million tons and the export levels reached more than 1.5 million tons (Data from Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture - MAPA). Therefore, bovine meat and meat products are greatly consumed and appreciated in Brazil. Bovine cured meat accounts for 25% of the total meat produced in Brazil and charqui represents the main cured product manufactured by the establishments under federal inspection (Ishihara et al. 2013)

The annual production of charqui in Brazil is estimated at 600 thousand tons (representing a market worth two billion dollars), a number that would certainly be higher if we take into account the many informal producers that also contribute to the market (Fayrdin 1998). The per capita charqui consumption varies according to the regions of the country. The highest consumption is observed in northeast of Brazil

(approximately three kilograms per capita/year), mainly in the states of Pernambuco and Paraiba; this data represents the values reported for both charqui and jerked beef, since the latter is considered a variation of the former. As for carne de sol, the estimated annual consumption is of 0.890 kilograms per capita. Once more, the states from northeast region of Brazil (Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte and Paraiba) are responsible for most of consumption (IBGE 2010b).

This data highlights the relevance of dried meat products, especially in the northeast region of Brazil, and supports the need for more investments, which would allow the improvement of the manufacturing technologies, product safety and quality, as well as its commercialization.

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