In addition to phosphates, processors have a plethora of water-binding ingredients to assist with moisture enhancement. Some work synergistically with phosphates, while others work solo. Some provide additional benefits.
For example, Corbion, Lenexa, Kansas, offers antimicrobial label-friendly ingredients that increase water-binding properties. They help processors control Listeria while improving cook yield, reducing purge and improving texture.
“One of our vinegar-based solutions has been shown to increase cook yield by 4.4 percent in natural turkey breast,” says Tom Rourke, senior business development manager for Corbion. “It has also been tested in injected natural ham where it increased yield by 9 percent.”
Essentia Protein Solutions offers functional stocks and broths from beef, chicken, pork and turkey. They are unique because unlike traditional stocks, they produce a moisture and heat activated cold-setting gel.
“These proteins absorb and bind water by creating a gel in meat and poultry systems. This gel decreases purge and enhances texture, thus improving slicing,” Hosch says. “They work very well as phosphate alternatives in clean-label products since they can be labeled as ‘[species] broth’ or ‘stock, natural flavors.’”
Grain Processing offers a range of ingredients to enhance moisture in meat. This includes modified food starch, corn syrup solids and maltodextrins.
“Modified food starch is considered a binder, and as such, its addition may require disclosure contiguous to the product name on meats where binders are not typically included in the formulation,” Putnam says. “Properly selected modified starches hold moisture through processing, in both refrigerated and frozen storage.
“Corn syrup solids and maltodextrins, although not binders by function, add non-meat solids,” he says. “When contained within a meat protein matrix, they help reduce moisture loss that occurs from heat denaturation and coagulation of the proteins during processing.”
Beneo, Morris Plains, New Jersey, offers a pure white rice starch that works especially well in poultry for enhancement. It delivers a clean look with no pinking.
Ingredion Inc., Westchester, Illinois, is introducing a potato-based functional native starch for processed meats, chicken nuggets and heat-and-eat meats. The starch improves yield up to 20 percent, while providing a firmer, juicier texture.
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