When it comes to choosing ingredients to add value to meat and poultry products, processors have a wide variety of options. Emerging customer and consumer trends continue guiding the product development for ingredient suppliers, including those used in flavor solutions.

"Low sodium continues as an important trend," says Gene Brotsky, senior technical service representative at Innophos, Cranbury, N.J.

Addressing this trend, Innophos offers CURAVIS So-Lo 93, which is produced at its Waterway, Ill. facility for meat and poultry markets. A pH-adjusted blend of potassium and sodium pyrophosphates, this product was developed about two years ago as a low-sodium phosphate alternative. CURAVIS So-Lo 93 is designed to enhance the texture of processed meats and poultry without compromising the taste profile of the finished product, the company says

"Formulating with CURAVIS So-Lo 93 allows food scientists to produce new products with 93 percent less sodium," Brotsky says. "This can translate into a 25 percent sodium reduction in the finished product without adjusting the salt levels. Furthermore, fresh products are juicier and more tender when compared to low-sodium products made by lowering the salt or phosphate content. In addition, cooked products retain fresh flavor longer without the ‘warmed-over’ or stale flavors when stored."

Delivering flavor

"We have seen, based on the market trends for the red meat and poultry industry, that our customers are driven first by the high cost of phosphates," says Chris Kelly, director of technical services, Advanced Food Systems Inc., Somerset, N.J. Although there is no clear definition of "clean label", this is another driving force, coupled with products being more natural without sacrificing product quality, Kelly says.

"What’s also driving phosphate and marinade trends is [demand for] good flavor and added value, which is why we carefully select specific ingredients to maximize flavor and value," Kelly adds.

AFS offers a new-and-improved SeasonRite Marinade & SeasonRite Marinade Injection product line. These products are useful across a variety of substrates and can deliver traditional and contemporary flavors, according to the company. These functional marinades improve both visual and palatable appeal of the final product. Versions are available with natural binding systems with reduced sodium and with or without phosphates.

SeasonRite Marinades can be applied to beef, chicken and pork. They can be used in fully cooked and frozen/refrigerated, microwavable products, raw refrigerated and ground products. Different versions of the product are available for tumbling, SRMI or static soaking.

Some of the flavor profiles include: Chili Lime Garlic, Caribbean, Buffalo, Hoisin, Kim Chi, Hickory Grill, Mesquite, Memphis BBQ, Whiskey Smoke, Mediterranean, Wine Herb, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Madras, Mojo and many others.

"These flavored marinades are an excellent choice to enhance flavor, increase cook yield, improve appearance and value or add a new creative item to an existing product line," according to the company. "They are bold enough to be used alone or for complementing a sauce or glaze. All SeasonRite Marinades are dry bases and can be customized to meet customer needs."

AFS has focused on developing specialty marinade systems to maximize yield and meat and poultry product quality for more than 25 years. While most processors use its Actobind systems in conjunction with phosphates, many Actobind products can provide excellent yield and texture with low to no levels of sodium phosphates, the company adds.

Sodium phosphate’s costs have increased more than 95 percent in the last 10 months, the company continues. By eliminating or reducing phosphate in formulations, its Actobind line of products provide significant cost savings by increasing cook yields while still maintaining quality. Advantages also include cleaner labels, enhanced texture and flavor release, the company adds.

Actobind products are available for a variety of products, processing methods and finished-product types from raw, marinated to fully-cooked and retorted products. They can also meet specialized requirements such as all-natural and allergen-free.

Value-added functionality

The primary focus for World Technology Ingredients Inc.’s phosphates have been value-added functionality, says Robert Brooks, technical specialist, WTI, Jefferson, Ga. "As the downturn in the economy tightens margins, processors are asking more from their ingredient investment," he says.

"The paradigm is shifting from lower-cost commodity ingredients to value-added products that provide greater improvement in product characteristics related to company profitability," he adds. "Companies are beginning to find it is sometimes better to spend more per pound for a specialty phosphate to enable gains in marinade retention and yield beyond the capabilities of commodity phosphates."

WTI’s MYOSOL brand phosphates are patented, highly-soluble, liquid potassium phosphate solutions that enhance the functionality of marinades and meat systems, Brooks says. The product is readily soluble in cold water and instantly reactive in marinades and meats as its functionality is not dependent upon enzymatic breakdown.

The use of MYOSOL results in increased marinade retention, reduced muscle viscosity, increased slicing yields, improved tenderness in un-aged meats and poultry and it aids in color retention.

"As an added bonus, MYOSOL products are sodium-free, providing an opportunity to comply with ‘heart healthy’ labeling initiatives, Brooks concludes.