Yield Enhancement is the application of food science for systematic improvement in the yields of processed dairy foods or meat products. Yield improvement can be targeted in the areas of injection or tumbling yields (in fresh beef, pork, chicken or fish), or in post-cook yields (in grilled marinated fajita strips or leg-quarters). It also includes reduced drip loss, reduced package purge or decreased freeze-thaw losses. In beverages, increasing yield refers to the conversion of fluid dairy into more value-added dairy products.
Yield Enhancement is directly affected by the amount of moisture that binds to foods. Hydrocolloids are excellent in binding water and some are also able to bind protein such as milk. In the case of carrageenans, kappa and iota carrageenans have hydration profiles that are compatible with processed meat products. Cooking losses are minimized as they hydrate during the up-cycle. Past the peak temperature, kappa and iota carrageenans will gel on the down-cycle further locking in the free moisture. Carrageenans have special reactivity with the kappa casein fraction of milk. This synergistic reaction with protein allows for enhanced yield in cheese production.
Whole Chicken or Cuts
Fresh whole chicken, breast or leg quarters can be enhanced with the injection of a marinade made from carrageenan and without the use of phosphates. This permits the “All Natural” labeling where allowed by regulation. Significant cost savings and improved consumer sensory scores can be simultaneously achieved.
Meats considered “value cuts”, such as Flank or Chuck, can be injected with a carrageenan marinade to add moisture and to promote tenderization. In pre-cooked food service applications, carrageenan-enhanced meats will hold up better under warming.