AgTech startup MEQ Probe has received $500,000 funding from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Teys Australia and the Midfield Group, to test technology to objectively measure the eating quality of meat.
It will enable a commercial pilot of the MEQ Probe technology, which uses nanoscale biophotonics to measure the marbling and tenderness of meat, both major drivers of eating quality.
Chief executive of the Adelaide, SA-based company Jordy Kitschke said the trial will allow his team to put the technology through its paces commercially, and bring the probe to a point where it can be rolled out industry wide.
“Our technology has the potential to make sure every time someone buys a steak or a chop, they have a great experience, and it lives up to their expectations,” Mr Kitschke said.
“Our focus is on making sure our technology creates as much value as possible for the red meat industry, whilst making the probe simple to use and easy to adopt.
“Having support from industry stakeholders who share our vision and want to move the industry forward is priceless for us.”
The trial will be conducted at two sites in southern Australia, using 2400 sheep and cattle across different breeds, production systems, and seasons.
Teys Australia industry and corporate affairs manager John Langbridge, one of the largest processors in the country, said he was excited to see what impact the cutting-edge tech was set to have on Australia’s agricultural sector.
“This is an exciting project for Teys. At the consumer end of the supply chain, we want to be able to better predict and optimise the consumer experience,” Mr Langbridge said.
“At the producer end, we want to be able to provide producers with objective, transparent data so they can continue to produce the best beef possible.”
The project will see MEQ Probe test and refine its technology over the next season, fast-tracking its efforts to bring an objective measure to market, as well as leveraging the benefits from relationships with key industry partners.
MLA managing director Richard Norton said the company was backing the project that aimed to establish objective inputs in the beef grading system, and give the lamb industry the long-awaited ability to grade on a per carcase basis.
“The technology being pioneered by MEQ Probe could be transformational for the meat industry,” Mr Norton said.
“Today, the focus is on the consumer and it is technology like MEQ that is going to help us to provide value for our consumers, ultimately resulting in more value for our industry.
“Innovation like this will help Australia maintain its status as a global leader in red meat production.”