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“Meating” market demand for safer and fresher meat, poultry and seafood products

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Kemin’s innovative and natural solutions help prevent microbial growth and extend shelf-life, meeting the needs of manufacturers and consumers alike.

Since time immemorial, agricultural products such as meat and poultry have been highly perishable due to their nature—this factor makes the extension of their shelf-life a core issue for manufacturers.

In recent years, food quality and safety issues in meat have been receiving media coverage in developed and developing countries. Consumers continue to have concerns regarding food safety issues and suppliers are equally concerned with addressing issues affecting shelf-life to ensure the safety and quality of products and increase consumer appeal and loyalty. As an innovative solutions provider, Kemin has expanded its portfolio to address these concerns with clean-label and natural, plant-based ingredients to satisfy consumer and supplier requirements for natural food, delaying spoilage and improving shelf-life.

Delivering a fresh, tasty and most importantly, safe product is at the core of the ethos of meat manufacturers, regardless of whether the meat is fresh or processed. As such, manufacturers should consider the broader implications of food safety lapses and recognise the benefits that natural shelf-life extension solutions could bring to their products.

Enhancing food safety, protecting quality and curbing food waste

Compounding the problem of unsafe food production is the resulting food recalls, waste and loss of income and risk to reputation. According to the Food Safety & Inspection Services of USDA, in 2018 alone, 7.9 million kilograms of meat and poultry products were recalled due to bacteria contamination representing an increase loss 25 times higher when compared to losses in 2017. Stephen Ostroff, M.D., deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA recently observed in the United States there are estimates from a 2014 USDA study that the direct and indirect costs from foodborne pathogens is around $15.6 billion per year. A more recent estimate from Ohio State University that indirect or direct costs from foodborne pathogens could be as much as USD$93.2 billion annually.

The costs of a food recall have equally staggering numbers associated with these events. In 2012, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the Food Marketing Institute estimated that the average direct cost for a food recall in the United States was $10 million. The indirect costs, including retrieval and disposal of the recalled product, lawsuits, damage to a company’s or product’s reputation, and sales losses range from between $30 million and $99 million each. Some companies have reported that their recalls have exceeded more than $100 million per recall event.

One way to manage and mitigate the problem of food contamination which leads to food waste and contributes to the safety issues in meat products is to ensure that products have ample time to move through the supply chain without spoiling, despite unforeseen circumstances such as transportation, weather or handling mishaps. Kemin offers an innovative solution to help solve some of these issues with its label-friendly buffered vinegar product, BactoCEASE NV. BactoCEASE NV is able to delay microbial growth of foodborne contamination and thus ensure the safety of meat, poultry and seafood products. BactoCEASE NV helps manufacturers keep products safer and extends their shelf-life by acting as a layer of protection from a variety of foodborne pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria.

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Capturing sales and securing consumer trust with Kemin

Apart from microbial growth, another factor contributing to food waste is the disposal of products that are deemed “off”. For example, more often than not, the freshness of meat and poultry products is determined by the colour of the meat. Protein-rich products are highly susceptible to oxidation, most notably when the fresh red or pink colour fades. As a shelf-life challenge, color fading can be overcome with the addition of natural antioxidants to delay the oxidation process, thus extending the shelf-life and the appearance of both fresh and processed meat and poultry products.

Kemin’s solution to these shelf life challenges is the application of a label-friendly antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredient that translates to safer and fresher meat and poultry products. Packaged meats and poultry will be fresher as it awaits a consumer’s discerning eye, associate the freshness with a particular brand, and thereby securing purchasing loyalty in the long run. Kemin’s range of rosemary-based antioxidant extracts, dubbed FORTIUM R, protects meat and poultry against colour and fat oxidation, thus lengthening the shelf-life of the products from factory to shelf.

"The world population is growing at a rapid rate, and we need smart and innovative solutions to make our resources go the extra mile," said Michelle Lim, President, Kemin Food Technologies – Asia. "Our innovative shelf life solution highlights Kemin's commitment to sustainably transform lives around the world. This commitment starts with the products we develop.”

Michelle continues: “BactoCEASE NV, helps ensure food safety for people, reduces food waste for the planet and, thus, provides assurance of quality and safety to food brands and businesses, whilst for manufacturers who are concerned about the trio of problems—flavour change, colour change and food safety lapses—NaturCEASE, would be the ideal answer. NaturCEASE, a combination of antioxidant and antimicrobial, is a dual action solution that delays both bacterial spoilage, and unwanted colour and flavour changes in meat products.

“NaturCEASE is derived from buffered vinegar and plant extracts, meeting the ‘natural’ trend that’s sweeping the region. Consumers want natural ingredients they recognise and also shy away from “chemical-sounding” ingredients. As such, it is important to the Kemin team to come up with a product with ingredients that are relatable, especially for staple food products like meat. By extending their shelf-life, we ensure that food waste and the associated threats to food safety and the follow-on costs are kept to a minimum. Consumers may also purchase with confidence, and be assured of the quality, taste and aroma of the meat.”

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Natural and clean label solutions for a sustainable future for meat

As consumers drive the trends in the global packaged meat market, manufacturers are looking at fresh new alternatives to guarantee the integrity of their meat once it leaves the factory. While certain methods of preservation have prevailed over time, consumers have put a microscope on these methods, creating the need for sustainable and transparent, natural shelf-life extension solutions in the market.

Did you know?

The largest outbreak of listeria took place during 2017 and into 2018 in South Africa. Listeria contaminated processed meat took the lives of over 200 people in a single incident. The Center for Disease Control estimates that Listeria causes 1600 illnesses and about 260 deaths in the United States every year. Listeria can be curbed with the use of Kemin’s natural shelf-life extension solutions.