The majority of sophisticated consumers are looking for high-quality, value-added meat and poultry products. Not only are consumers continuing to be more and more accepting of exotic flavors, but they are now branching out and embracing non-traditional twists on these striking flavors. According to a collaborative effort of market research by Packaged Facts and San Francisco’s Center for Culinary Development (CCD) entitled “Spices and Seasonings: Culinary Trend Mapping Report” (2007), “Spices are infiltrating menus and specialty food products, and in the process, differentiating them — attracting new customers and even adding health halos.” Thanks to the spread of global cuisines, the report says, increased consumer interest in bold flavors and the convenience factor of flavoring this week’s chicken with a flick of the wrist, spices and seasonings are more diverse than ever. They can make the simplest ingredients shine and take on global guises, adding flavor, fragrance, heat and complexity. As new ethnic cuisines capture consumers’ attention, new spices and spice blends migrate to their own kitchen racks.

With eye appeal and good taste being major factors in their selection, food manufacturers have provided consumers with many varieties of flavorful, seasoned-meat products that utilize ingredients created by sophisticated suppliers. But seasoning meats is more complicated than just mixing salt and pepper with some herbs and spices. Flavor is introduced through various means that affect both taste and texture. Seasonings can be applied to a variety of meat products, including sausages, luncheon meat, hams and dried meats. Every food company wants to formulate their very own recipes in the hope that their product will be the next taste sensation. This special, recipe-style report will highlight the latest ingredients available to help manufacturers’ further-processed products stand out in the crowd.

Manufacturer: Cargill Inc., Minneapolis.
Ingredient/Spice: SaltWise™ sodium-reduction system.< br> Protein Applications: Meat and poultry.
Most Popular Application: Processed meats.
Key Attributes: Cargill’s SaltWise™ sodium-reduction system can help reduce sodium in food products by 25 to 50 percent while delivering taste parity to salt. Working as a direct salt replacement, SaltWise sodium-reduction system does not require extensive formula modification. It offers excellent handling, flexibility, functionality and easy formulation, just like regular salt. This granular system is readily soluble in water and stable to heat, acid, dehydration and freeze/thaw processes.
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Manufacturer: Con Yeager Spice Co., Zelienople, Pa.
Ingredient/Spice: Chicken and Turkey Sausage Seasonings.
Protein Applications: Chicken or turkey thigh meat without skin.
Most Popular Application: Chicken or turkey sausage. For example, Jalapeno & Hot Pepper Cheese Chicken Sausage.
Key Attributes: Devoid of rubbery mouthfeel, these seasonings are available in new exciting flavors that are very low in fat.
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Manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Spice Co., Denver, Colo.
Ingredient/Spice: Wild Rice and Mushroom Stuffing Mix.
Protein Applications: Meat, poultry and pork.
Most Popular Application: Stuffed turkey.
Key Attributes: Various “just add water” stuffing mixes are simple to prepare and enhance moistness to any protein. The mixes are available as both natural and organic.
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Manufacturer: Wixon Inc., Milwaukee.
Ingredient/Spice: Cajun, Jambalaya, Roasted Chicory, Cocoa Rub and Maple, KCLean Salt and Wix-Fresh.
Protein Applications: Beef, turkey, pork and chicken.
Most Popular Application: Cajun Turducken, (turkey, duck, chicken), Roasted Chicory and Cocoa Rub Steak, Maple Wrapped Turkey Breakfast Sausage with Cajun Strawberry & Cream, and Jambalaya Wrapped Andouille Sausage. < br> Key Attributes: Wixon is showcasing flavor modifiers with a sodium-reduction system. KCLean Salt provides a 33-percent reduction in sodium content in these applications.
The unique blends and flavor technologies improve fresh and pre-cooked meats by enhancing taste while neutralizing off-notes, and producing healthier and more flavorful cuisine. Although KCLean Salt is the featured ingredient, Wixon also used Wix-Fresh Max and Wix-Fresh Miner — flavor modifiers that also extend shelf life, mask off-notes and reduce “warmed-over” flavor in meats.
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Flavor forecast

McCormick® predicts top 10 flavor pairings for the remainder of 2008.

So what’s influencing the flavors of 2008? America’s escalating interest in health and wellness, the boundless passion for discovering authentic ingredients and cooking techniques from around the globe and the increased desire for local and artisan food are all driving forces. Sparks, Md.-based McCormick & Co. Inc. explored these and other trends to develop the Top 10 flavor pairings for 2008.

McCormick’s Top 10 flavor pairings:
• Oregano and Heirloom Beans: The intersection of functional food and fantastic flavor, this coupling is an antioxidant powerhouse.
• Vanilla Bean and Cardamom: A flavor match made in heaven taps into America’s growing passion for indulgent, yet approachable luxury.
• Chile and Cocoa: Old World authenticity in a modern context — the result is complex heat, depth, dimension and richness.
• Coriander and Coconut Water: The essence of the tropics coaxes nuances of a chameleon-like spice bringing forth light, clean flavors.
• Lemon Grass and Lychee: Exotic fruits from far away and the ever-growing popularity of Asian cuisines pave the way for this refreshing match.
• Red Curry and Masa: This duo brings together Latin and Asian influences to create a unique flavor experience.
• Orange Peel and Natural Wood: A new taste sensation is born when the smokiness of wood is matched with tangy orange peel.
• Allspice and Exotic Meats: This adventurous combination represents America’s pursuit of experimentation.
• Poppy Seed and Rose: An elegant and sensuous pair that captures the pursuit of cuisines from North Africa and the Middle East.
• Rubbed Sage and Rye Whiskey: A powerful, all-American team — sage is a wonderful complement to the dry, gutsy nature of rye whiskey, a historic beverage poised for a great renaissance.
Source: McCormick & Co. Inc.