Researchers from the Cell Biophysics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences say that replacing the nitrates and nitrites added to sausage meat can keep the meat fresh for two-three months, instead of the normal two-three days.
A report in Russian science news journal Informnauka said the scientists added nicotinamide-dinucleotide and adenosinetriphosphoric acid, dicarbon acids and myoglobin to the sausage meat. These substances can be found naturally in any living cell.
The discovery could aid the Russian government's plan to boost the domestic meat sector and build up production against foreign imports.
Longer lasting meat would also offer significant advantages in a vast country like Russia, where long journeys between cities make it hard and costly for firms to develop national distribution networks for fresh products.
Russian firm Kampomos, a subsidiary of pan-European meat processor Campofrio, recently launched a new line of vacuum-packed, meat medallions with a 30-day shelf-life.
The move allowed the company to make its first move on Russia's growing fresh meat sector.
"Our research has shown that consumers prefer fresh products because the frozen ones lose their taste and sustenance. Our customers also don't want to defrost products as this loses them valuable time," said product manager Anastasia Bogush.
Analysts now predict Russian meat innovation will rise by five or six per cent annually.
This will likely be driven by richer urban consumers demanding new product varieties, but markets in poorer communities should also benefit from a government social and economic development plan to increase average meat consumption from 50kg per person to 78-80Kg.
Raw materials prices are still a big problem, however. Russian meat prices doubled in 2004 after having risen 30 per cent the year before, and another domestic firm, Mikoyan, told www.Cee-FoodIndustry.com that this had hampered development in the sector.