Nowadays you can order just about anything online. It’s easy, efficient and low-effort. Traditionally meat is an item you buy in specialized markets fresh from butchers and vendors. It can be a tricky product to buy online because of its perishable nature which can be the cause for safety concerns. However, with developments in the food industry’s processing and preservation techniques, the number of consumers who order meat online has increased drastically.
Is it safe it buy meat online?
Meat needs to be treated and packaged with proper measures because it is a product that is consumed. If its condition is not safe, at the least it proves to be a waste of money and at worst can harm your health.
When buying it from shops, you have the benefit of checking it first-hand but ordering over the internet may have you doubting its quality. Fortunately, with the rise in online meat markets, reputable sources have come up that offer certified assured goods.
Choosing the correct kind of meat online
Whether shopping online or offline, the following are the features you need to check to identify good quality meat.
The first step of buying is knowing what to buy. Consider what cut of the meat to get, most people will choose the back portion of the animal because it is more tender as compared to the tough meat of the front end. The back portion also takes less time to cook whereas the front meat takes longer.
But other people prefer the front-end meat because it has more flavours. The cooking technique also depends on what cut you decide to get.
The appearance of meat can help you judge its quality. Avoid meat with flaws like bruises, faded colour, broken bones etc. Avoid meat that looks too dry or too wet. If you do not find the meat desirable, chances are you will not find it palatable either. The colour and cuts of the meat giveaway the standards and how it has been handled.
A basic and important bar of judgment is the colour of the meat as it indicates its freshness and quality. Depending on the animal, the ideal colour of meat varies. For beef, a bright red color is ideal but it may sometimes be a darker red as well. Poultry should be light pink or whitish and when you order online mutton, it should be a deep shade of red. Avoid brown, grey or greenish-coloured meat.
Fresh vs. frozen
Generally, you get two types – fresh and frozen. Fresh meat is healthier, but harder to maintain and ship. Frozen meat is more sustainable and does not decompose unless it gets bacterial or fungal infection but fresh meat has more nutrients and flavor and is easier to prepare. Choose the frozen option only if you cannot opt for fresh and always check the shelf-life when buying it.
Another alternative is chilled meat, which is a better and healthier option because in chilling the meat is allowed to be unwrapped and hung, so the air can circulate.
Meat fat when it appears on the meat as white flecks and streaks resembles marble, this is called marbling. You can buy meat online without any hesitation when you see marbling on it; it is guaranteed to taste amazing. High-grade marbling gives the meat more flavour and better texture and makes it tender and juicer. Marbling depends on the diet of the animal and the cut of the meat.
What to look out for when ordering online
Just finding quality meat is not enough; you need to know the process that will bring it to you. You must understand these, to get your money’s worth.
The price of meat online may be higher considering factors like shipping. The prices are based on weight and amount, so buy the correct quantity. Try to find favourable prices. The perk of online meat is that you have a variety to choose from, which may not have been available locally. You can get opportunities to try expensive cuts during discounts which you should keep an eye out for.
Shipping is an important step in the case of perishable items such as meat. Customers should check how much time the delivery takes and be wary of delays. Check the packaging practices and temperature; these are the most vital parts of shipping meat. Check the package for water residue, moisture or tears and it should be cold to touch.
Reputation and fame
Online butcheries are likely to have systems for feedback. Check reviews and experiences of previous customers to get an idea of the kind of meat and service the supplier provides. The more the popularity of the site, the better the product.
There are many recommendations available online based on people’s experiences and opinions, you can check them out as well.
When selling products for consumption that have the potential to affect a person’s health, the seller has to be upfront about the credibility of his business and its products. Information about product procedures like packaging, processing, storage, stock, shipping etc. should be transparent. Avoid shady sites that offer only vague information. The site should have food-related certifications and quality assessment grades.
Food Safety Standards
Food Safety and Standards Association of India or FSSAI is the regulatory body that governs food security in India. In the case of food it must be labeled with the FSSAI confirmed mark to guarantee that all criteria are met. It is the assurance of safety, sanitation and quality. Do not purchase from sites that do not follow this requirement.
Buying meat online may seem scary and questionable at first but once you familiarize yourself with the necessary information, it becomes much simpler.
You should not skip out on the advantages of online shopping, especially in today’s fast and busy lifestyle. One click and you will have chicken ready to cook in your fridge.
Just remember the points above and you can have your animal protein right at your doorstep, anytime!