There is a range of stabilizing ingredients for meat products on the market, including various fibers, but starches are most commonly used to prevent moisture loss during transport, storage and display, and to retain the juicy texture of products during cooking.
However, sales and marketing director at Nu-Tek Teresa Isakson said that the company’s new soy extract has a particular textural advantage over starches.
She told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “In the meat system, the cool thing about it is that in terms of texture, if I was going to add starch, the meat’s going to become softer and softer, so for a consumer they are going to think it’s gone bad because it can be sort of slimy. With this product the meat actually gets harder.”
Added to a product at a maximum level of two percent, she said: “You don’t see that mushy characteristic that you can get with starch.”
The company also considers that its natural and organic sourcing – the extract is a by-product of organic soymilk manufacture – will be seen as a big advantage for food manufacturers.
Indeed, the US organic sector has remained strong over the past year despite the tough economic environment. Market research organization Mintel said in December that supermarket sales of organic and natural products fell by just 0.3 percent in 2009 and that only three percent of American shoppers say they have stopped buying organics altogether during that time. Mintel said it expects organic and natural food and drink sales to recover from 2010 to 2012.
Sourcing the extract from organic soymilk manufacturers also means that it has a very clean, neutral, ‘non-beany’ flavor, Isakson said, due to demand for high quality, flavor-neutral soymilk.
She said that the idea of using the extract in food came when she was working for a soymilk company and saw the byproducts being given away for animal feed.
“It loves to hold onto water but it also holds onto fat. It’s like a sponge,” she said. “And it tastes really good because the soybeans they use in soy milk are triple null soybeans so they don’t have that beany note…But soy companies were throwing it away.”
The company found that it works like an instant starch, immediately ‘grabbing’ moisture.
Due to its link to the soy milk industry, Isakson does not envisage any problems with securing adequate organic supply of the extract.
“Because soy milk is popular we can work with each and every manufacturer to process this product if it is very successful,” she said.