Consumers crave savory breakfast sausage or thick, juicy burgers with all the toppings. And formulators spend countless hours determining that “just-right” mix of spices, herbs and other ingredients to deliver top-notch flavor in their meat applications.
But flavor is not a consumer’s only first impression. In addition to the product's visual appeal and packaging, first impressions are also based on texture. Is it juicy and savory or dry and gritty? Does it have a pleasant mouthfeel or is it mushy or chalky?
Texture can make or break someone’s opinion about a meat product long before their taste buds can decide whether it’s flavorful or not.
There are a lot of ingredients in a formulator’s toolbox that can help improve texture, but many do not comply with clean-label initiatives and may experience supply chain issues; others qualify as fillers or binders. Let’s take a look at the science behind achieving consumer-preferred texture.
VIEW ON-DEMAND WEBINAR: Meat Consumption. Market & Trends
Moisture: The Key to Savory Texture
Turning raw meat into a meatball, sausage or other meat-based application inherently results in a loss of moisture and structure. Once cooked, ground meat can lose nearly one-third of its yield, mostly due to fat purge.
For as much emphasis as there’s been on reduced-fat products, the meat industry hasn’t necessarily been among them. That’s because consumers instinctively know that if they want a thick, juicy burger, it needs fat and moisture.
Loss of moisture and fat purge are common challenges in processed meat applications. Using gums and starches might help combat syneresis, but most fail to appeal to clean-label consumers. Other meat extenders are classified as fillers or binders, bringing added scrutiny. Furthermore, they often result in poor texture and off-flavors that may require additional masking agents, adding to an already extensive ingredient list.
Grande Festo™ is an innovative, clean-label hydrolyzed whey protein that is specially formulated to enhance the texture and overall quality of meat applications by retaining moisture naturally.
Additionally, its proprietary functionality won’t compromise the structure of the protein molecules, allowing for better overall mouthfeel and bite. Its clean, neutral flavor also means that a meat product’s natural umami flavor is allowed to be the star, and unnecessary ingredients used to mask flavors or retain moisture can be eliminated.
There’s an additional bonus: When a meat product retains moisture and fat throughout the production process, it also helps to retain profits as a result of higher yields and saleable volume.
Trained Sensory Panel Results
To demonstrate Grande Festo’s superior texture and flavor, a 2022 trained sensory panel compared it to a control using a blind testing method and SpectrumTM descriptive analysis. Grande Festo scored much higher for juiciness and texture/mouthfeel, and outperformed the control for all other sensory attributes.
Grande Festo checks all the boxes. It is a clean-label, readily available ingredient that improves a meat application’s quality, texture, juiciness and flavor — the keys to a customer’s repeat purchase intent.
Learn more about this innovative ingredient in our on-demand webinar, Meat Consumption, Market & Trends, including consumer trends, an expansion of sensory panel findings, and more. Simply click the link below.