Indigenous practices and quality perception in the production of kilichi, a grilled dried meat in Niger
Production and processing of meat constitute important activities that procure substantial revenues for breeders, food processors, and sellers, as well as supplying animal proteins to the populations of Niger. Among the meat products, kilichi is one of the most popular, made of a diversity of meats, but also produced in diverse forms. A survey involving 695 stakeholders was carried out to investigate kilichi production, selling, consumption, and quality perception in different regions known to be the highest production zones of kilichi in the country. Data collected were analysed by descriptive statistics and correspondence analyses. Production and commercialization of kilichi involved men exclusively, all from the Hausa ethnic group, with more than 80 per cent between 21 and 50 years old, all of Islamic religion and low educational level. Two categories of kilichi were produced from bovine, camel, ovine, and goat meat, comprising coated kilichi enrobed with sauce made from blends of ingredients and uncoated kilichi slightly seasoned. Within each category, types of kilichi were differentiated by the process, mainly involving enrobing, drying, and grilling, and the types of seasonings used, which probably affect the organoleptic, nutritional, and sanitary quality of kilichi. The quality attributes of kilichi are flavour, tenderness, friability, and shelf life. The survey also showed that the production of kilichi was artisanal, and unsanitary conditions prevailing in the workshops can result in unsafe food.