New start-up food science company Botaniline, Buffalo, New York, has developed an all-natural potato ingredient that allows for the formulation of better-for-you hot dogs, sausages, meatballs and other processed meat products. The single ingredient replaces fillers and binders and enables up to a 95 percent reduction in sodium. When used in conjunction with dried vinegar, chemical food safety and shelf-life extenders may be eliminated.

Botaniline’s innovative, patented technology involves a precise time-temperature processing of whole potatoes, followed by flash freezing of the potatoes when their structure is altered to a functional composition. Prior to freezing, they are sliced into a form that renders them easily ground with the meat block during the mixing stage. The potatoes’ unique structure enables the ingredient to exert numerous functions, allowing for a simpler, cleaner ingredient legend, as well as an improved nutrition profile.

“The potato ingredient synergistically reacts with the protein at precise points, whereby it binds and bonds with the ground protein,” said Mark Celmer, CEO and managing director. “Then it becomes a catalyst for accelerating the ‘functional aspects of sodium’ with the protein. Finally, as a peptide, it holds, adsorbs and maintains oils, flavors and moisture, several times its weight. This reduces shrink during cooking, resulting in a succulent meat product.”

These functions allow for a significant sodium reduction and the removal of ingredients such as textured vegetable protein, soy additives, monosodium glutamate, phosphates and other water binders and texturants. Sensory studies show no difference in quality, flavor, taste and texture.

A processor may replace 10 percent to 20 percent of the meat block with the potato ingredient, thereby lowering costs. Further, by reducing meat content with a vegetable, calories and saturated fat content is reduced.

When the potato ingredient was used in an all-beef hot dog, calories were cut by 35 percent, from 170 to 110, saturated fats dropped from 6 grams to 3 grams, and sodium was reduced by 50 percent, to 285 milligrams.

“The base ingredient is potatoes, and we have proven the highly secretive science to work effectively with any kind of potato,” Celmer says. “But one must know the chemical structure of the ingredient we are capturing, as different potatoes will require fine tuning of our process. The ingredient is not potato starch, nor will it work like a starch to achieve the desired results.”

This innovative food technology was invented in the test-kitchens of Buffalo, New York-based Wardynski’s & Sons by Dean O’Brien, Botaniline co-founder and food scientist. It has been fully approved by the US Dept. of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.