BLACKSBURG, VA. — Flavor spikes designed to quickly flavor meat during cooking, have been developed by a Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology team. The product, known as Spice n Easy, is described as "a unique way to add flavor to meat products without the wait and mess of a traditional marinade."
Easy-to-insert nuggets of flavor dissolve inside the meat during cooking and release their flavor. The spikes can be used to roast, grill and slow-cook chicken, beef, pork and fish, according to its creators.
The flavoring product, which is made from all-natural ingredients, does not require refrigeration and has a long shelf life. "We anticipate a shelf life of one year with the limiting factor being loss of flavor from the spices," a representative from the research team told MEATPOULTRY.com.
Developing this product had its share of challenges. "The first problem was how to make a marinade inflexible enough to be inserted into meat," said Denise Gardner, team leader of Reading, Pa., an F.S.T. master's degree candidate.
The team chose a hard-candy approach. Sucrose and water were heated, spices were added and the product was cooled and shaped. In addition to binding the spices, the sucrose adds sweetness and preserves spice quality. The students experimented with raw materials, different shapes and sizes, cooling times, mold components and packaging to create the gourmet seasoning.
They tested the product in chicken, beef and pork and found it worked well in numerous applications, said Kevin Holland of Bradford., Pa., a co-leader and F.S.T. doctoral candidate. A product-safety study was also created and the team prepared a plan for commercial-scale production and a marketing plan.
According to research results, the team may have a hit on its hands. "Our data shows that 73% of potential customers would be interested in purchasing Spice n Easy," said Sabrina Hannah of Elverson, Pa. a co-leader and F.S.T. doctoral candidate.
Jackie Reed, licensing associate with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc., is working with the team to develop their invention into a product that will make its way to the retail market. "We hope to find an industrial partner to help make this a commercial product," she said.