Emu Meat Not A Popular Choice Among Consumers, Study Shows

February 23, 1999

ATHENS, Ohio -- Americans searching for a healthier alternative to beef may need to adjust their taste buds a bit before trying the low-fat meat of emu, a flightless bird native to Australia.

Emu is a healthy alternative to other red meats, dietitians say, but a survey of consumers by an Ohio University researcher suggests that Americans prefer beef over the unfamiliar taste of emu.

In the study, researchers asked participants to sample cooked patties of turkey, beef and emu and rate the meats for tenderness, flavor, texture, aftertaste and overall acceptance. The study, which was published in the February issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, was supported by a grant from the WorldWide Meat Co., a San Antonio-based company that sells emu and ostrich.

Participants rated beef and turkey higher than emu for tenderness, texture and overall acceptability. Beef was rated the highest for flavor, with turkey and emu rated equally for flavor, although some participants said emu had a "gamey" taste.

"The biggest complaint you get with emu is its gamey flavor," said David Holben, assistant professor of human and consumer sciences at Ohio University and lead author of the study.

Beef was rated higher in flavor than all the meats, Holben said, probably because of the familiar flavor of beef and its fat content. A 4-ounce serving of emu has 1 gram of fat, and a 4-ounce serving of beef has 8 grams of fat.

The second-largest bird in the world after the ostrich, the emu belongs to the ratite family of flightless birds. Raw emu has a dark cherry color and resembles beef when cooked. Retail cuts of emu include steak, fillet, medallion, roast and ground. Farmers in Alabama, Texas and Ohio are raising emu, selling it for $5 to $6 a pound, Holben said. Emu is available from farms in regions where it is raised and also can be purchased on the Internet.

For future studies on consumers' opinion of emu, Holben suggests researchers try recipes that call for a different preparation of the bird and a variety of seasonings. Tests also should offer consumers information on the health benefits of emu, Holben said.

"Sometimes consumers, if they know a meat is healthy, will choose it and give priority to its health benefits, even if they don't like the taste quite as much," Holben said.

Margaret Miller, a graduate student in food science and technology at Ohio State University, was co-author of the study. Holben holds an appointment in the College of Health and Human Services.
-end-
Attention reporters and editors: The journal article on which this news release is based is available by calling Melissa Rake at 740-593-1891 or Kim Walker at 740-593-0849.

Editors: A photo of an emu may be downloaded from the Web at http://www.ohio.edu/news/pix/EMU1.JPG. To receive the image as a JPG attachment by e-mail, contact Dwight Woodward at 740-593-1886 or Kim Walker at 740-593-0849.



Ohio University

Related Consumers Articles from Brightsurf:

When consumers trust AI recommendations--or resist them
The key factor in deciding how to incorporate AI recommenders is whether consumers are focused on the functional and practical aspects of a product (its utilitarian value) or on the experiential and sensory aspects of a product (its hedonic value).

Do consumers enjoy events more when commenting on them?
Generating content increases people's enjoyment of positive experiences.

Why consumers think pretty food is healthier
People tend to think that pretty-looking food is healthier (e.g., more nutrients, less fat) and more natural (e.g., purer, less processed) than ugly-looking versions of the same food.

How consumers responded to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has been a catalyst for laying out the different threats that consumers face, and that consumers must prepare themselves for a constantly shifting landscape moving forward.

Is less more? How consumers view sustainability claims
Communicating a product's reduced negative attribute might have unintended consequences if consumers approach it with the wrong mindset.

In the sharing economy, consumers see themselves as helpers
Whether you use a taxi or a rideshare app like Uber, you're still going to get a driver who will take you to your destination.

Helping consumers in a crisis
A new study shows that the central bank tool known as quantitative easing helped consumers substantially during the last big economic downturn -- a finding with clear relevance for today's pandemic-hit economy.

'Locally grown' broccoli looks, tastes better to consumers
In tests, consumers in upstate New York were willing to pay more for broccoli grown in New York when they knew where it came from, Cornell University researchers found.

Should patients be considered consumers?
No, and doing so can undermine efforts to promote patient-centered health care, write three Hastings Center scholars in the March issue of Health Affairs.

Consumers choose smartphones mostly because of their appearance
The more attractive the image and design of the telephone, the stronger the emotional relationship that consumers are going to have with the product, which is a clear influence on their purchasing decision.

Read More: Consumers News and Consumers Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.