Do beef chips or sheep skin skincare products and health supplements sound inviting?
Well they could be the future if a new push to find ways to make money from sheep and cattle carcases succeeds.
It is a long-standing dilemma for livestock industries where just 20 per cent of the animal delivers 80 per cent of its value.
Meat & Livestock Australia has agreed to fund further research into such ideas as beef chips, or skincare products from sheep skins and health supplements like protein powders.
MLA agreed to continue the research after releasing findings this week into a project which investigated the opportunity to utilise low value meat as an ingredient in the wider food industry.
One proposal the MLA has agreed to pursue is extracting Australian sheep collagen for nutraceutical markets - dietary supplements and the like.
The MLA will "scope and fund a project to develop a process to produce Australian functional collagen peptides from Australian beef and sheep hides for the food and nutraceutical markets".
It is considered a difficult process to develop an enzyme process able to extract collagen from sheep skins.
The MLA says it would like to work with a commercial company to develop and commercialise a meat and/or bone broth.
It wants to work with commercial companies to "develop and commercialise" a red meat or collagen chip.
The project update released this week identified six "high value opportunity" spaces for harvesting red meat components as quality ingredient components.
- Australian functional collagen peptides range.
- Bone broth.
- Enzyme processing of rendering feedstock into high value ingredients.
- Protein powders and drinks for sports and lifestyle.
- Beef and collagen chips.
- Extraction of ovine collagen for the nutraceutical markets.
Australian farmers produce eight million cattle hides, a million calf skins and 32 million sheep skins each year.
The MLA's research found Australia is one of only a few countries which has open trade in hides and skins.
"However farmers still regard these skins and hides as by-products and 'waste' so often sell them for whatever the counterparty is willing to buy them for and is then often transformed into leather."
Collagen is the most abundant component in red meat.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Researchers said consumer interest in collagen-based products is growing in various applications, including food and beverage, nutraceutical supplements, cosmetics and medical products.
Consumers are particularly focusing on health and performance nutrition, with the nutraceutical collagen market forecasted to account for 40.06 per cent of collagen product sales in 2025.
Collagen's characteristics as a bioavailable bonding material has resulted in growth in both cosmetic and medical applications.
Its most prevalent use among cosmetic consumers is in skincare products, with this popularity due to its 'revitalising' and 'renewing' properties.
Challenges for Australian companies using Australian red meat collagen looking to supply the market are largely competing with marine collagen which researchers say is often perceived as "cleaner".