The connection between meat and potatoes goes back a long way. Few things go as well together as a steak and baked potato, or a burger and fries. One newly developed product hopes to make that bond even closer – using a potato-based ingredient in a meat block to create healthier products.

Botaniline, an early stage food science company, has developed an all-natural, plant-based food technology that can be used to create healthier processed meats and proteins. Botaniline’s one-ingredient substitution of potato allows processed meat and protein manufacturers to improve their existing recipes and eliminate all fillers, binders, allergens, and chemical additives. The result is a reduction in sodium by up to 95% and a product that’s free of all allergens, gluten, MSG, lactose, TVP, and soy while maintaining its quality, flavor, taste, and texture, the company says.

Plant-based meat products have been driving the headlines over the past year, leaving some pundits to speculate about the overall future of the meat industry. That kind of talk overlooks some of the problems inherent with these items.

“Though plant-based proteins are helping to create more sustainable products that are better for the environment, many of the meatless items are much higher in sodium, fat, and harmful processing chemicals and ingredients,” says Heather Ryan, director of marketing for Botalinine. “By substituting a percentage of the meat block with our plant-based ingredient, processors have the opportunity to create both a healthier and more sustainable product that tastes great.”

This innovative food technology was invented in the test-kitchens of century-old Wardynski & Sons by Dean O’Brien, Botaniline co-founder and Principal Food Scientist. It has been fully approved by the USDA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and it is in full commercial use. Wardynski & Sons, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based processor, has used the product in its hot dogs, sausages, bologna and other products.

Ryan notes that processed meats frequently get a bad rap due to being higher in sodium and chemical additives. Processors have tried to create a more consumer-friendly ingredients statement by utilizing celery powder in place of sodium nitrite. With the Botaniline ingredient, the potato acts as a protein binder and a peptide that naturally helps proteins retain their flavor so nutrition panels are cleaner. In many cases, the ingredient list can be cut in half and substituted with just one—“potato.”

“The Botaniline ingredient allows the processor to replace 10 to 20 percent of the meat block. Our R&D team works closely with processors to help create new recipes that remove unnecessary chemical additives, allergens and fillers on current and future SKU items,” Ryan says. “The result is a healthier, better tasting and more sustainable product.”

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