The Chemistry of Color

When it comes to meat and poultry, color has a certain chemistry. Most consumers base their meat and poultry buying decisions on a fresh appearance, and equate appealing color with quality and freshness. Since color is the consumer’s most important cue, meat and poultry manufacturers have a challenge when it comes to maintaining a fresh appearance.

The most important protein for color in meat is myoglobin. The color of meat is determined by the ratios of the three forms in which myoglobin can be present. Stable oxymyoglobin (MbO2) imparts the bright red color that is considered a mark of freshness, and is formed and maintained in an oxygen-rich environment. Over time, the continuous oxidation transforms the myoglobin into metmyoglobin (MMb+), imparting a brown color, a cue to consumers that the meat is no longer fresh.

Kemin products like our Acerola cherry (Malpighia emarginata) extract and blends are effective at delaying the oxidation of the iron ion in the myoglobin molecule.

When it comes to meat and poultry, color has a certain chemistry.

Kemin Acerola cherry extract

  • a consumer friendly alternative back by research
  • delays both lipid and myoglobin oxidation
  • maintains the desirable color of meat products
  • proprietary blends with other plant extracts provide additional protection

 


Challenge: Retaining fresh color

Solution: Kemin color protection solutions (acerola, rosemary, green tea extracts and blends)

Typical applications: Ground meats and fresh meats


The slider below illustrates color loss over time in an 80/20 ground beef, and allows you to compare what protection you may be able to achieve with one of Kemin's antioxidant solutions.  Use this tool to help you determine the optimal antioxidant solution to meet your desired shelf life needs.  

Disclaimer: This tool is for illustrative purposes.  The color change scale is based off of scientific research, however images used were not taken from a specific study and were recreated for the purposes of this tool. 

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FORTIUM® R: Rosemary extract effective at extending shelf-life of meat and poultry products. Learn More >

 
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FORTIUM® RGT: Versatile and proprietary blend of rosemary and green tea extracts that extends shelf-life better than rosemary extract alone. Learn More >

 
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NaturFORT ARGT: Unique blend of acerola, rosemary and green tea extracts that provide optimal color and flavor shelf-life extension of meat and poultry products. Learn More >

Have a Question About Color?