Impacted by meat shortages and personal lifestyle trends such as low-carb and keto diets; high-protein, high-fat bacon has been in high demand over the past year, with bacon prices reaching an all-time high, according to Innophos.
Innova Market Insights 2021 Bacon Trends reported keto claims are +165% (Global, CAGR 2016-2020 YTD) as more consumers adopt the dieting trend.
According to IRI, retail sales of bacon spiked 29% from mid-March to mid-July in 2020 (vs. the same time period in 2019).
Consumer demand, notes Innova Market Insights, is expected to continue as more consumers view bacon as a permissible indulgence.
As an alternative to STPP (sodium tripolyphosphate) - a preservative used in the packaged meat industry for improved water-holding capacity and to help meat hold its shape when cooked - Optibalance 200 is a phosphate blend of triphosphoric acid, polyphosphoric acids, diphosphoric acid, and metaphosphoric acid. According to Innophos, it would be labeled as 'sodium phosphate' on the ingredients list.
The ingredient allows bacon processors and manufacturers to use up to 8% less Optibalance compared to STPP for the same solution, said Songwei Wu, staff scientist, Innophos, Inc.
“Optibalance 200 is a great way for processors to reduce ingredient costs while speeding up processing time and improving throughput of pork-brined bacon and other meat products. We can increase the dissolving rate of the pork brine, which also means less equipment downtime to clean clogged injection equipment and improved safety," said Wu.
"This innovative solution is a win-win for both food processors and consumers alike," said Wu, who noted the benefit to consumers is a bacon product with more robust flavor, enhanced appearance, and extended shelf life.