Consumers’ interest in the way meat is produced is increasing in Europe. The resulting free range and organic meat products retail at a higher price, but are difficult to differentiate from their counterparts. To ascertain authenticity and prevent fraud, relevant markers need to be identified and new analytical methodology developed. The objective of this pilot study was to characterize pork belly meats of different animal welfare classes by their fatty acid (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester—FAME), non-volatile compound (electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry—ESI-MS/MS), and volatile compound (proton-transfer-reaction mass spectrometry—PTR-MS) fingerprints. Well-defined pork belly meat samples (13 conventional, 15 free range, and 13 organic) originating from the Netherlands were subjected to analysis. Fingerprints appeared to be specific for the three categories, and resulted in 100%, 95.3%, and 95.3% correct identity predictions of training set samples for FAME, ESI-MS/MS, and PTR-MS respectively and slightly lower scores for the validation set. Organic meat was also well discriminated from the other two categories with 100% success rates for the training set for all three analytical approaches. Ten out of 25 FAs showed significant differences in abundance between organic meat and the other categories, free range meat differed significantly for 6 out of the 25 FAs. Overall, FAME fingerprinting presented highest discrimination power.
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