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Trending meat flavours
Date Published：9/18/2018 04:09:47 AM
THE RECENT expansion of the range of meat products now available is both inspiring and challenging. Around the world, supermarket aisles are filled with meats that use seasonings, marinades and spices to create new taste experiences.
While modern flavouring technologies present exciting opportunities to create unique tasting meat choices, manufacturers and food scientists are challenged to also address consumers’ demand for healthier meat that retains authentic flavours, tenderness and juiciness.
A recent Kerry survey of more than 1,000 consumers across India, Indonesia, China, Australia and the Philippines found that more than three-quarters of Asian consumers are unwilling to sacrifice taste and still want delicious choices when choosing a healthier product.
With the rise in mindful consumption, prompted by health considerations, meat manufacturers need to focus on flavouring technologies that use nutritionally-balanced ingredients when reformulating recipes. The use of simple and understandable ingredients that meet cleaner label requirement is key to influencing consumers’ meat-buying behaviour and preference.
Smoke condensates for meat flavouring could help manufacturers create distinctive flavours and a much healthier product.
Here, we take a look at three meat flavouring trends that are growing in appeal:
Modern smoke technique
The technique of smoking is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, to impart flavour, colour and aroma to meat, poultry and seafood. From smoked jerky and sausage to pastrami and salmon, the possibilities are endless. According to Mintel, 2017 recorded a 19% growth in the ‘Smoke’ and ‘BBQ’ flavours in food and beverage globally compared to 2015.
Smoking is one of the oldest food preservation methods, dating back to the prehistoric age when our ancestors used it to preserve protein-rich food such as fish and meat. With the evolution of smoke flavours today, it is used not only for preservation but also to give a new twist to traditional product and provide more flavour variety and new experience for the consumer.
To achieve the desired smoke profile and top notes, the choice of wood is just as critical as the type and cut of meat. While conventional woods such as hickory and mesquite are good for heavily flavoured meat, fruitwood such as apple imparts a subtly sweet, fruity flavour and is recommended for meat without much seasoning. With progressive smoke technology that filters and removes ashes and tars, the use of smoke condensates for meat flavouring could help manufacturers create a much healthier product.
The appeal for smoke technologies is apparent as the distinctive smoked flavour not only enhances consumers’ taste experience, it also helps to meet the growing nutritional demands for clean, authentic meat.
Smoke application also presents tremendous growth opportunities for the industry, with forward-looking manufacturers starting to expand into smoky flavours for dairy, desserts and even beverages, too.
Korean flavours are dominating
With the immense popularity of the hallyu, or Korean cultural wave, millions of Asian consumers outside Korea are influenced by all aspects of Korean culture, from make-up and music to fashion and food.
Asian consumers can’t get enough of the mouth-watering Kimchi-inspired flavour, a fermented vegetable sauce that has expanded into a variety of applications including marinades, sauces and brines. As Korea continues to be the dominant food and beverage trendsetter, Asian consumers are on the lookout for the next Korean-influenced flavour and meat manufacturers looking for first-mover advantage should keep a close eye on Seoul.
Gochujang is a sweet and spicy fermented Korean condiment that has taken the region by storm. According to data from Mintel, between 2016 and 2017 there was a 100% growth in the use of gochujang flavour for food and beverage. While this trend is most significant in North America, the spicy flavour appears to satisfy the palate of consumers in Asia too, as seen during the successful launch of a gochujang-inspired burger by a fast food chain recently in Southeast Asia.
For meat manufacturers to capture the well-travelled consumers who have been introduced to local Korean cuisine, formulating authenticity into the flavour profiles is particularly important.
Consumers love the smokiness in ribs, but note that smoky flavours are spicing up dairy, desserts and even beverages, according to Kerry.
Consumers crave hot and spicy flavours
The demand for truly authentic flavour experience has also paved the way for a variety of spice blends, chilies and peppers that are unique to Asian cuisines. Gochujang aside, consumers are also embracing hot and spicy flavours such as Indonesian Sambal, India Tandoori and Philippine Adobo, evident from the 100% growth in the use of these flavours for meat applications the past year.
Hot pepper pastes from around Asia are growing in popularity as a complementary ingredient and flavour to a variety of meat because it provides a sophisticated twist to mainstream tastes while still staying true to traditional methods in the kitchen. At the same time, fermentation-derived ingredients and spice blends are critical in minimising the growth of undesirable microorganisms, helping to improve shelf-life.
These flavouring trends point to the fact that although consumers are now driven by health considerations, they are not prepared to compromise on taste. Meat manufacturers that can achieve both, will be best placed to grow their market share in 2019 and beyond.
*DIMITRIOS TZOUVELEKIS is general manager for Meat, Kerry, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region.