Technical note: Estimation of real rabbit meat consumption in Italy

Massimiliano Petracci, Francesca Soglia, Giulia Baldi, Laura Balzani, Samer Mudalal, Claudio Cavani


As in other livestock species, the annual per capita consumption of rabbit meat is currently estimated as the ratio of the total weight of carcasses available for consumption to the number of inhabitants of a certain region. The aim of this work was to establish conversion coefficients from carcass to dible lean meat and estimate real rabbit meat consumption in Italy. Accordingly, a total of 24 rabbits were slaughtered at 2 different ages to obtain carcasses representative of the main market categories in Northern Italy: medium-size (carcass weight of about 1.4 kg) and heavy-size (carcass weight of about 1.8 kg). Chilled carcasses were used to determine offal, dissectible fat, bone and meat weights and yields. Experimentally obtained conversion factors from carcass to edible lean meat and estimated meat waste percentage at retail and consumption levels were subsequently used to estimate the real per capita amount of rabbit meat consumed in Italy. The finding of this study revealed that, if compared to the medium-size group, heavy-size carcasses had higher lean meat yield for both intermediate (92.9 vs. 92.4%; P<0.05) and hind parts (84.3 vs. 79.1%; P<0.001). On the contrary, the meat yield of fore part was higher in the medium-size group (66.2 vs. 65.5%; P<0.001) compared to heavy-size carcasses. Eventually, overall meat yield was higher in heavy-size carcasses compared to medium-size ones (64.4 vs. 63.2%; P<0.001). By using these conversion factors and estimated overall losses at retailing and home-consumption (15%), we estimated that real per capita annual rabbit meat consumption is 0.50 kg in Italy, which is only 54% compared to the estimated apparent consumption (0.90 kg).


rabbits; chilled carcass; meat joint; meat yield; edible meat; meat consumption

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Foods  vol: 9  issue: 8  first page: 1022  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/foods9081022


 Universitat Politècnica de València


Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)


e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011