Consumers love the convenience of frozen prepared meals that fit their busy lifestyles, but they also want to see clean label products free from ingredients such as artificial preservatives. As manufacturers respond to this consumer demand by reformulating for clean, simple labels, they face many challenges. Cooked, frozen meat products are especially susceptible to oxidation and warmed-over flavor development during shelf life due to the process of cooking, freezing, storage, and reheating.
Traditionally, artificial preservatives such as butylated hydroxyoanisole (BHA), butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), propyl gallate and citric acid have been used to delay oxidative rancidity in cooked frozen meat products. While attempting to remove artificial ingredients such as these from labels, manufacturers are faced with challenging decisions as they seek the best solutions to protect their brand quality and reputation. Fortunately, clean label shelf life solutions can answer these challenges effectively.
Our recent study evaluated natural plant extracts vs. synthetic antioxidant options in protecting foods from oxidation. The study examined the effectiveness of these ingredients in fighting lipid oxidation and off-flavor development in cooked frozen pork sausage patties over a period of twelve months, comparing meat treated with traditional synthetic antioxidants vs. natural plant extracts such as rosemary/green tea blends, as well as untreated meat.
Results demonstrated that clean label alternatives such as FORTIUM® RGT12, a blend of rosemary/green tea, prevent oxidation as effectively as synthetic options while maintaining higher scores with sensory panelists.
Study highlights include these specifics:
FORTIUM® RGT12 Plus Dry should be considered for cooked pork sausage applications as a clean label solution to protect product quality during long-term frozen storage.