Tenderland got US patent 6194012 27 Feb for its "Treatment of meat." Competitors include Seawell North America and Packaging Systems.

Abstract:

    A method of storing and aging a meat which comprises the steps of containing meat in a controllable environment under a mechanical compression, substantially separating a majority of a surface of the meat from direct contact with a gas present in the controllable environment, controlling the gas in the controllable environment by reducing free oxygen gas in the controllable environment and controlling gas pressure in the controllable environment while protecting a majority of the surface of the meat from the effects of a pressure variation, and holding the meat under the controllable environment for a period of time within a predetermined temperature range; provided that the meat is held under the mechanical compression during the controlling of the gas in the controllable environment for storing and aging meat.

First of ten claims:

A method of treating or storing meat, which includes the steps of:

    providing a container for meat which is controllably closeable to separate gas present in said container from a remaining ambient gas atmosphere, charging said container with meat and closing said container, physically compressing said meat with a meat compressor in said container and providing a barrier in juxtaposition with said meat to separate a majority of the surface of said meat from direct contact with the gas in the container, reducing free oxygen in the container when separate from the remaining ambient gas atmosphere by evacuating the gas in the container and replacing that gas with a gas low or substantially free of free oxygen via a valve, reducing the temperature of the meat in said container and holding the meat for a period of time under the conditions of compression, reduced free oxygen gas and temperature, for aging of the meat.

By Navroz Havewala, just-food.com correspondent