Scottish processors will be able to accurately measure the tenderness, colour and fat levels of red meat within three years, researchers have predicted.

Quality Meat Scotland has unveiled a research project, part-funded by the Scottish government, that will allow processors to evaluate the overall eating quality automatically.

By using technologies such as near-infra red spectroscopy or digital image analysis, the project could help suppliers promote meat by accurately labelling tenderness on pack, as well as identifying the best-tasting breeds. Though the initial focus is on beef, there are plans to tweak the technology to use on lamb and pork. "Capturing this level of information and using it as a mechanism to further drive up the quality of beef produced across Scotland has the potential to revolutionise how we promote Scotch Beef globally," said QMS chairman Donald Biggar.