Meat! Think it's just about dead animal flesh, hacked and ground and processed with ever less "natural" flavors and preservatives? Well, I guess you know everything, don't you? No you don't. There are still more secrets to be revealed, about America's obsession with nasty meat.

"Five Secrets You Didn't Know About Meat," promises this E.J. Schultz story in Ad Age, and I'll admit—upon reading that, I had to know the secrets. Just what is the processed meat industry cooking up (ha) for all of us heart disease-ridden Americans this year? I was hoping for a secret along the lines of, "Meat is people." But no, nothing like that, it's still mostly the carcasses and gristle of gentle farm animals, ground up by industrial machinery. There is at least one interesting meat trend you can "look for" (ha—well you'll probably get the joke after you see the trend!):

Consumers want a good look at their packaged lunch meat — before they take it home. This is why Hillshire is rolling out new packaging featuring a large transparent window so that buyers can peek at their turkey or ham before tossing it in the cart. Consumers said, "Let us see the quality of the meat," Mr. Connolly said. "You're known for craftsmanship. You're known for quality. But you have an opaque package. We can't see it."

"Let us see the quality of the meat." That is what she said! (Ha.) (She was a cow. Soon afterwards, she was killed.)

[Ad Age. Photo: Elin B/ Flickr]