While the food shopping experience has become filled with more choices over the years, product integrity is still paramount. How consumers judge their choices can be based on one single factor or a holistic view of a product’s attributes. Those factors combined with an overall value proposition can make it difficult for food manufacturers to strike an appropriate balance. However, with the right portfolio of ingredients and trusted partners, crafting products that appeal to a wide variety of consumers is possible. Here we’ll look at the different factors that come into play to create a product’s perceived integrity.
Consistency leads to safety
A consistent approach to food safety and a shared food safety culture along with preventive measures at critical control points and ingredients with antimicrobial properties help ensure products are free from potentially harmful pathogens. Likewise, consistency in production — from processing steps to temperature control — is essential in delivering a quality product that is enjoyed and likely to be consumed again.
An active food preservation and food safety strategy can help ensure foods stay fresh and safe across the desired shelf from pathogens like L. monocytogenes, Clostridium, and others, as well as from mold or discoloration. From a food quality standpoint, ingredients such as rosemary extract can be added to a product to prolong freshness with antioxidants, helping meats stave off oxidation and retain the coloration of meat that consumers expect. This means a bright cherry red color in beef products, and a fresh pink color in poultry and pork products. Other ingredients, such as ferments and vinegars can inhibit the growth of pathogens — helping to ensure meats and meat alternatives are safe when consumers eat them.
Quality and freshness
Freshness is a key attribute of high-quality products. Corbion helps manufacturers achieve optimum freshness and preservation through a range of systems, including ferments, vinegars, antioxidants and sodium reduction technology — among many others.
Corbion’s functional ingredients have specific roles that help a finished food product’s overall quality. Corbion offers a complete line of naturally derived antioxidants that enhance and prolong a product’s freshness. The Verdad® portfolio includes a wide range of ferments and vinegars (acetates) to naturally extend shelf life in meat applications and more.
In addition, emulsifiers and structuring agents can be used to maintain the integrity of proteins throughout the freeze/thaw process. These solutions are easy to disperse and can be added during any point of the fabrication process. While these and other ingredients enhance quality, they are also developed for performance.
Corbion’s products undergo multiple application tests to deliver consistent results.
In addition to product-enhancing ingredients that extend freshness for quality purposes, packaging is a core component of a high-quality product. Packaging meats in heat-sealed or vacuum bags, for instance, protects the products from physical damage and outside contaminants and helps boost freshness and shelf life.
Corbion’s functional ingredients also help processors assure the safety of their products by inhibiting pathogens. Solutions can be selected to target specific pathogens of concern based on the type of protein, such as deli meats or whole muscle cuts.
For better versatility, Corbion offers a range of options for processors to control pathogens via ingredient technology. Depending on their needs, processors can choose liquids, powders or low sodium options, with options that are naturally derived and familiar to consumers.
To support processors in their efforts to improve food safety, Corbion offers its industry-leading modeling tool, the Corbion Listeria Control Model. This newly improved tool allows processors to predict outcomes, test ingredient applications and anticipate some of the hurdles that could be encountered during innovation or formulation development.
Sustainability is an inherent and increasingly important part of product integrity. At a time when everyone in the food chain is trying to improve their sustainability efforts — including consumers, retailers, foodservice operators and processors — products and packaging can be optimized for lower environmental impact.
In addition to utilizing eco-friendly packaging made from sustainable materials (or reducing the amount of packaging altogether), processors can reduce food waste by extending the shelf life of products. Functional ingredients can be used to keep proteins fresher for longer without sacrificing consumer experience or taste.
The use of natural ingredients is also important to today’s sustainability-minded customers. Corbion’s kitchen cupboard ingredients protect and preserve foods while enabling manufacturers to assure their consumers that they are taking steps to be socially responsible providers.
On that note, while achieving product integrity is the right thing to do, processors can engender loyalty among their customers by pointing out the ways in which its products are made in the safest, most sustainable ways possible. In the end, it’s a positive experience for all.