Managing moisture to improve yields

by Jeff Gelski
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Citrus or soy ingredients may be incorporated to retain moisture in processed meats.

Those in the meat and poultry industry may remember the drought of 2012, which led to higher feed prices and in turn higher meat prices. Now this Thanksgiving, turkey prices have been boosted by the effects of an avian influenza outbreak.

Manufacturers of meat products may find ways to reduce costs and perhaps keep prices from soaring too high. Retaining moisture and increasing yield is one way. Ingredients based on citrus or soy may assist.

Corbion Purac recently introduced Verdad Avanta Y100, which has been shown to work in such applications as deli meats, turkey, ham, hot dogs, turkey breakfast strips, cooked sausage and bologna. Verdad Avanta Y100 may appear as citrus flour and vinegar on the ingredient list or also as dried orange pulp and vinegar on the ingredient list, said Tom Rourke, senior business development manager for Corbion Purac.

The ingredient, a long-chain polysaccharide, attracts water and holds it within the meat product. Starches and other polysaccharides like carrageenan have similar water-holding characteristics, Mr. Rourke said. Verdad Avanta Y100 may provide benefits when carrageenan, a red seaweed ingredient, is taken out of a product.

Yield increases of about 5% may be achieved if the meat product is cooked in a non-permeable casing where moisture cannot escape, he said. The yield increase may reach 9% if the product is open cooked where moisture is allowed to escape.

Verdad Avanta Y100 extends shelf life and improves the meat product’s texture, slice-ability and dice-ability, Mr. Rourke said. Its powder form makes it easier to use.

Verdad Avanta F100 is another addition to the Corbion Purac portfolio. The ingredient is designed to provide freshness in raw sausage and ground meats. It may appear as vinegar and jasmine tea extract on the ingredient list or as vinegar and natural flavor. Verdad Avanta F100 gives companies an alternative to traditional organic acid derivatives for microbial control and color retention in fresh meat products, Mr. Rourke said.

Citrus fiber is in Citri-Fi from Fiberstar, Inc., River Falls, Wis. Citri-Fi reduces cost by decreasing purge and increasing water-holding capacity in raw and cooked meat products, said Amanda Wagner, a food technologist for Fiberstar.

“Citri-Fi is most commonly used in injected, ground, emulsified and tumbled meats and in fresh processed meat products,” she said. “Citri-Fi’s unique affinity for water and its ability to retain free water, either native or supplementary, will increase raw and cooking yields. Increasing the water component in these meat products influence desired sensory attributes in finished meat products such as juiciness.”

She added that in ground meats, a portion of the meat block may be replaced with added water or broths in addition to Citri-Fi. This allows formulators not only to improve yield but also to reduce costs by removing some of the meat block.

“On average, formulators are looking at a 2% to 5% cost reduction in the entire finished product,” Ms. Wagner said. “This includes reducing the meat block and yield improvement while improving texture and organoleptic quality of the product.”

Citri-Fi provides clean label, natural yield improvement benefits, Ms. Wagner said. It binds free and added water to increase yields in products via a physical process rather than a chemical modification of the meat.

In a Prosant ingredient from Cargill, textured soy flour mimics ground meat texture and replaces more expensive leaner meats, said Tom Katen, technical service manager — meats for Cargill Texturizing Solutions.

“When cooking an all-meat burger versus a textured soy extended burger, the moisture loss is greater in the all-meat version,” he said. “The yield increase and retained moisture improve the overall eating qualities and reduce the cost of the soy extended burger.”

Specific yield increase percentages vary by product/application, but yields with textured soy flour are positive across the board, according to the company.

“For raw meat patties, the consumer is in control of the yield,” Mr. Katen said. “For our precooked meat patty products, our processors control the yields. For batter and breaded meat patties, yields vary based on the method of frying and cooking. When using a textured soy protein, these products do see improved texture or lack of ‘rubberness.’”

Marinades also may assist in increasing yield. Advanced Food Systems, Inc., Somerset, N.J., offers SeasonRite marinades that increase cooked yield, improve texture and provide balanced flavor as well as preventing/slowing oxidation in meat and poultry applications, according to the company.

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