Ground products include water in the protein matrix to aid in dispersion of salt and spices, to decrease viscosity of the mix to improve pumping and forming and to improve yields and juiciness.
Clean label options
“For cost-sensitive applications, delivering the firmness, chew and, importantly, the flavor that consumers love in meats, has long proved a significant challenge for formulators,” says Davy Luyten, marketing manager. “Our new clean-label texturizer is an affordable way to improve processability and increase yields while maintaining the meaty taste, structure and texture consumers want.”
Fiberstar Inc., River Falls, Wisconsin, offers a natural citrus fiber created from pulp using a patented physical process that increases the surface area. This surface area provides high-water holding capacity and natural emulsification properties that are needed in processed meat products.
“It can be used for brine injection of whole muscle products,” says Nesha Zalesny, technical sales manager. “It can be used in conjunction with a phosphate salt, at a reduced level, to lower the sodium content of the meat.
“Using this natural fiber will decrease drip loss and increase cook yield and result in a juicier finished product,” Zalesny says. “For formulators looking for clean-label brine injection solutions, this natural ingredient can be combined with starch to replace phosphate in brine-injected poultry. Native rice starch is typically recommended due to its small granular size and clean-label perception.”
Because this citrus fiber functions as an emulsifier, it can assist with keeping fat-soluble ingredients, such as rosemary extract (a natural antioxidant) dispersed in the solution. In a brine, this means there will not be a ring of rosemary oil at the top of the brine tank.
Tomato-derived fiber products have also been shown to deliver natural succulence to prepared meats. “Our tomato fiber has good water-binding properties and can give meat enhanced texture, mouthfeel, juiciness and bite,” says Christiane Lippert, head of marketing-food, Lycored, Switzerland. “Dry tomato pulp is another natural way to deliver succulence, as well as an appealing pink color.”
DuPont Nutrition & Health offers a range of soy protein isolates and concentrates for ground products and brine injected, whole muscle products.
“Textured concentrates mimic the grain and consistency of ground meat, while improving water-holding capacity,” Lowder says. “Soy protein has been an effective non-meat ingredient in this arena for many years, improving cook/chill and freeze/thaw yields, firming products for sliceability, and improving juiciness and maintaining sensory quality when subjected to abusive cooking processes, like retort cooking, or long hold times under heat lamps.”
Minneapolis-based Cargill offers modified food starches, native starches, carrageenan and other water-binding ingredients. This includes lean meat replacement options, such as textured soy proteins and functional pea proteins.
“These non-meat proteins help with moisture retention over lean meat and mimic the eating texture of a ground meat particle,” says Tom Katen, technical service representative. “School lunch and institutional programs depend on these affordable proteins to deliver cooked meat and vegetable protein solutions.
“Almost all meat and poultry items benefit from added moisture,” he concludes.