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Antioxidants to the Rescue: Preventing Oxidation

Posted April 19, 2018

Not only does oxidation negatively affect the color, flavor and shelf life of meat and poultry products, this harmful process starts as soon as the products leave the processing facility.

Consumers ‘eat with their eyes’, and color makes the first impression, the visual cue that promises freshness, quality and deliciousness. Taste leaves a lasting impact, so flavor changes can negatively influence repeat purchasing decisions. Since oxidation changes both color and flavor, it affects the consumer decision-making process in two ways:

  • Color changes caused by myoglobin oxidation influence initial purchases.
  • Flavor changes caused by lipid oxidation influence repeat purchases.

Oxidation is the enemy, but it can be prevented or delayed through a variety of techniques, including processing techniques, packaging and storage methods such as modified atmosphere packaging (MAP), and the use of antioxidant ingredients.

Antioxidant ingredients provide the most cost-effective oxidation prevention method due to their level of effectiveness, their lack of negative impact on flavor, and their ability to provide targeted solutions.

Antioxidants in Action

What do antioxidants do?

  • Significantly delay or prevent lipid oxidation
  • Delay myoglobin oxidation
  • Lengthen shelf life
  • Help maintain consumer acceptance

How do antioxidants work?

Antioxidants delay the onset of oxidation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals, forming a stable antioxidant radical that is unable to participate in propagation reactions, slowing down oxidation.

Antioxidants delay meat color loss caused by oxidation byproducts which interact with myoglobin and make heme iron susceptible to oxidation. Antioxidants delay myoglobin oxidation, maintaining consumer acceptance and therefore, lengthening shelf life.

Antioxidants delay flavor degradation by donating hydrogen atoms to quench free radicals caused by the onset of lipid oxidation. By delaying this onset and its negative effects, antioxidants help extend shelf life.

To The Rescue

The Antioxidant Experts

Antioxidant solutions don’t work in a vacuum, so it is important to work with an experienced team with technical expertise. Our team understands proteins and the synergies of meat and poultry ingredient behaviors, as well as how different processing techniques, ingredients and packaging options can impact consumer appeal and shelf life.

Customer Lab Services (CLS)

This free in-house service provides dedicated support using a combination of analytical techniques and accelerated oxidation tests to provide proof-of-principle for solutions.

See how color loss over time affects the color of ground beef

For more information about antioxidants