As dietary and culinary trends shift, the popularity of sweet potatoes continues to rise. According to a study by North Carolina State University, more than 95 percent of consumers perceive sweet potatoes as a healthy food, with significant majorities seeing them as a good source of fiber, beta carotene and vitamins and minerals.
“Sweet potato ingredients can thus be expected to add a healthful halo to any product featuring them,” says Paul Verderber, vice president of sales, Carolina Innovative Food Ingredients (CIFI), Nashville, North Carolina.
The company has conducted extensive application research using dehydrated sweet potato flour and dehydrated sweet potato granules in various meat applications. Select sweet potato ingredients may serve as a functional and highly nutritional meat extender in ground products where it helps reduce purge, enhances natural color and flavor, and, because of the sweet potato’s inherent sugars, contributes to browning upon cooking. Finely ground flours may be part of a barbecue rub, contributing to the color and visual appeal of everything from ribs to steak. And sweet syrups may be used as a natural source of sugar in marinades and sauces.
The company obtained Non-GMO Project Verified status in late 2017 for all its sweet potato-based dehydrated, liquid and syrup ingredients. In addition to being non-GMO, all of CIFI’s sweet potato ingredients are US made, vegan, non-allergenic, gluten-free and kosher certified. They are also available certified organic.