The main objective of this paper was to investigate the effect of fat reduction on different quality traits of tea sausage. This study also aimed to deploy the following digital methods of analysis: three-dimensional (3D) laser imaging, computer vision system and oral processing. Three batches of tea sausage with different amounts of pork back fat were manufactured: control (25%), medium fat (17.5%) and low fat (10%). Samples for the analyses were taken on the production day and after 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days of ripening. The fat level significantly influenced shrinkage, texture, pH, aw, moisture and ash contents, peroxide value, acid number, number of chewing strokes, consumption time, eating rate and fat intake rate. Oxidative stability, colour and microbiological parameters were not affected by fat reduction. The results of the sensory analysis showed that the fat level can be reduced to 17.5% without negatively affecting the quality and sensory properties of the product. The ripening time of the fat-reduced tea sausage should be reduced to 28 days. A strong correlation between shrinkage and weight loss suggests the possibility of using 3D laser imaging in predicting weight loss and moisture content of dry sausages.
Keywords: 3D; computer vision; fat reduction; fermented sausage; oral processing; tea sausage.