Functional modifications in meat and meat products
Principal components of meat, besides water, are proteins and fats, with a substantial contribution of vitamins and minerals of a high degree of bio availability. Both meat and its associated products can be modified by adding ingredients considered beneficial for health or by eliminating or reducing components that are considered harmful.
Consumers have become better informed about nutrition and want to improve their safety in potential industrial applications to learn more about the medical benefits of food. Food manufacturers face the challenge of providing nutritious food, while at the same time, ensuring that the product has an appealing taste, texture and appearance.
Thus, producers of meat products have modified their formulas/recipes to meet the changing demands of the marketplace by addition of certain components that add functional properties to meat products or by reduction of certain ingredients.
- Fat Reduction
- Sodium Chloride control
- Addition of Antioxidants
Sodium Chloride Control
There are several approaches for reducing the sodium content in processed meat. These are
- Lowering of the level of sodium chloride added
- Replacement of all or part of NaCl with other chloride salts (KCl, CaCl2and MgCl2).
- Replacement of the sodium chloride with non-chloride salts, such as phosphates, or with new processing techniques or process modifications and
- Combinations of any of the above approaches.
Addition of Antioxidants
Certain bioactive components like, polyunsaturated fatty acids, use of lecithin, various pre and probiotics, isoflavones, saponins, phytosterols, phytates, proteinase inhibitors, oligosaccharides and powdered brewer’s yeast can be added in the meat products to make them healthier.
Different methods of fat reduction in meat products include trimming of external and intermuscular fat, genetic and dietary modification and fat replacements or substitutes.
Fat replacements or substitutes are ingredients that contribute a minimum of calories to formulated meats and do not dramatically alter flavor, juiciness, mouthfeel, viscosity or other organoleptic and processing properties.
Most of the substitutes used for partial replacement of the fat can be categorized as:
- Leaner meats.
- Added water.
- Protein based substitutes (blood plasma, egg proteins, milk caseinates, non-fat dry milk, oat bran, soy proteins, whey proteins, surimi, vital wheat gluten, wheat proteins).
- Carbohydrate-based substitutes (fibres, cellulose, starches, maltodextrins, dextrins, hydrocolloids or gum).
- Synthetic compounds.