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Andy Hanacek: We’re here today at the AMSA Reciprocal Meats Conference. I’m here with Lynn Knipe, editorial board member of The National Provisioner from the Ohio State University. Lynn, thanks for joining me today and doing this short little Q&A. I wanted to get your perspective on the sessions. This is a great seminar for sessions with a lot of reciprocal knowledge being shared. Was there a session or two that stood out to you?

Lynn Knipe: There were a lot of interesting sessions, but of course, with my interest in processing, there was a session on removing functional ingredients that we’ve been depending on all these years, such as salt, that are so important to our products and what we might do to make up for the changes in the product when we take the salt out. There was a lot of discussion about different ingredients. A lot of new things coming out all the time: different fibers, different ingredients that will help us hold water and maintain our texture. There are still a lot of procedures out there that we used to use more than we do today that might help with this as well. I know our consumers are real concerned about a lot of ingredients on the labels. It has been very interesting to hear about the new things available, and I know there’s going to be more coming soon.

Hanacek: So technology is advancing, but we can’t forget about the things that have worked in the past. Talk about some of the processes that you just mentioned that we don’t use as much that could be a substitution, if you will, for these ingredients.

Knipe: Well, of course, the ingredient that I think is the most interesting in replacing would be salt, and consumer demand is pushing for that. We may not need to reduce it as much as we were told at one point, but that’s a whole other topic. We’ve got pre-rigor processing, which we use a lot in the industry for fresh sausage, but there’s no reason we couldn’t use it to add binding capacity for cooked sausages. A lot of companies are using pre-blending. I know we could go back to some of that technology. There are some of these very basic processes that the industry used to use. Now, one of the challenges as we streamline our processes and try to produce more product faster in higher capacity… some of these time-tested procedures are difficult to maintain so that’s the challenge for the large industry.

Hanacek: Are these processes pretty universal? You mentioned sausage, but things like deli meat, you are seeing reduced sodium. Are the processes pretty universal? Pre-blending you aren’t necessarily able to do that with other things, but are they pretty universal processes?

Knipe: Yes, maybe I should have said processed meats [instead of sausage]. All of these concepts are about extracting myosin and protein, increasing water-holding capacity. Salt is very important to that, but there are other things we can do that will help us do the same thing with less salt.

Hanacek: Thanks for your time, Lynn.