This paper reviews current literature relating to the effects of chilled and frozen storage on the quality characteristics of red meat (lamb and beef). These characteristics include tenderness (shear force), juiciness (fluid losses), flavour (lipid oxidation), colour and microbial loading. Research suggests that chilled storage of red meat can improve certain properties, such as shear force and species-specific flavour, to threshold levels before the effects on flavour and colour become deleterious, and key microbial species proliferate to spoilage levels. For frozen red meat, the negative effects upon quality traits are prevented when stored for shorter durations, although chilled storage conditions prior to freezing and retail display post-thawing can both positively and negatively affect these traits. Here, we review the effects of different chilled, frozen and combined chilled and frozen storage practices (particularly the chilled-then-frozen combination) on meat quality and spoilage traits, in order to contribute to superior management of these traits during product distribution.