Packaged meat at a supermarket

Case-ready meat, retail-ready meat, or pre-packaged meat refers to fresh meat that is processed and packaged at a central facility and delivered to the store ready to be put directly into the meat case. [1][2]


Traditionally, most meat was shipped as primal cuts from the slaughterhouse to the butcher. Meat was then cut to commonly used cuts and packaged at the store or was custom cut for consumers.

Case-ready meat is cut and packaged at central regional facilities and sent to retail stores ready for placement in refrigerated display cases. Local butchering, cutting, trimming, and overwrapping the meat at retail stores is greatly reduced.

Advantages of the centralized master-packager preparation include: efficiency of centralized operations, tight quality control, close control of sanitization, specialized packaging, etc.[3]


Centralized cutting and processing of meats has the potential of reducing the shelf life of the cuts. Specialized packaging is needed to regain and even extend that shelf life.

Packaging includes tray,[4] absorbent pad, specialty plastic films,[5] etc. Oxygen scavengers and modified atmosphere packaging are used to keep the products visually appealing and consumer safe.[6] [7]


Control of temperature during the distribution cold chain is critical to meat quality and safety.

See also


  1. ^ Pelletier, B (30 April 2005). "Case-ready meat is hitting its stride". Packaging World. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  2. ^ Petrak, L (29 January 2013). "Case ready and steady". Food Business News. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  3. ^ JEYAMKONDAN, S (2000). "Review of Centralized Packaging Systems for Distribution of Retail-Ready Meat". Journal of Food Protection. 63 (6): 793–804. doi:10.4315/0362-028X-63.6.796. PMID 10852575. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. ^ US 7857160, Owensby, Joseph E., "Optimized tray for case-ready meat", published 2010-12-28, assigned to Sealed Air Corp. 
  5. ^ US 2006014002, Moulton, Jeffrey; Porter, Simon & Ting, Yuan-Ping, "High barrier antifog laminate for case ready meat packaging", published 2006-01-19  now abandoned.
  6. ^ Skandamis, P N (2002). "Preservation of fresh meat with active and modified atmosphere packaging conditions". International Journal of Food Microbiology. 79 (1–2): 35–45. doi:10.1016/s0168-1605(02)00177-0. PMID 12382683.[dead link]
  7. ^ US 5667827, Breen, Dennis J. & Wilson, Lawrence, "Process of packaging fresh meat", published 1997-09-16, assigned to Transhumance 

Further reading