With the ever-changing world of value-added driving technology in forming technology across multiple proteins, The National Provisioner turns to Marc Gaddis, president of Gaddis Food Group Consulting, to get his perspective on the technology and trends driving the forming process today.
NP: What are some of the more significant technological advancements regarding the forming process from which your company has been able to benefit in the past few years?
Gaddis: Three-dimensional forming has moved into the mainstream, and it keeps getting better. Also, the value proposition from the advances in that arena continues to drive costs down and the value up.
NP: Do you believe that most processors who produced formed product have taken full advantage of the technology as it stands, or is there plenty of room for the industry to expand in the realm of formed products?
Gaddis: The technology continues to expand at a greater rate than we can take advantage of it, and I think it will trend the same. Advances in equipment, forming technologies and even new emerging science will bring innovation for the future. We have to continue to capture all uses of the animal in a safe manner and turn them into products that exceed the consumers’ expectations. Rising costs of protein and world market drivers will require that we expand this arena.
NP: Discuss the top one or two factors you must take into account when developing a product that is to be formed (as opposed to other further-processes).
Gaddis: Processors always need to keep in mind that not all proteins are created equally — they need to be aware of, and compensate for the content, quality and fat level of the protein blend they are forming into product. Also, temperature of the blend always plays a very crucial role in successful forming of product.
NP: What challenges remain? In other words, in your dream scenario, what would your forming lines be able to do that they maybe struggle with today?
Gaddis: As I see it, the challenge remaining is to form products that continue to have the semblance of whole-muscle products. The public perception of formed products drops way off, even when the quality [of the protein] is the same. We have all learned from the public concern over ingredients used in forming and how that can cascade. However, it’s worth noting that we have come a long way as an industry, and continue to improve from the time of amalgamous, formed “blobs.”