Poultry protein isolates an effective substitute in turkey bologna, finds study

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Meat, Soy protein

Turkey bologna is a cold lunch meat often used in sandwiches. Photo credit: Applegate Farms
Turkey bologna is a cold lunch meat often used in sandwiches. Photo credit: Applegate Farms
Substituting soy protein isolates and meat protein with poultry protein isolates in turkey bologna can avoid the use of nonmeat ingredients and reduce production costs without impacting quality, according to a study.

Research published in the Journal of Food Science by Dileep Omana et. al ​compared the sensory attributes of turkey bologna formulated with poultry protein isolate (PPI) compared to commonly used ingredients soy protein isolate (SPI) and meat protein. It concluded that PPI was an effective substitute.

What’s Turkey Bologna?

Turkey bologna is a gel-type cold lunch meat prepared with meat and other ingredients. Meat processors often use other ingredients to substitute expensive lean meat, such as SPIs.

SPIs act as meat binders giving added water, but have often been associated with “cereal-like”​ off-flavours and discolouration, said the researchers.

Reduced costs

The study claims that PPIs are solution.

“With slight modifications in saltiness, turkey bologna can be prepared with the addition of poultry protein isolates as an acceptable substitute for soy protein isolate or meat protein.”

“This will help to avoid usage of nonmeat ingredients (as SPI substitute) and to reduce the cost of production (as meat protein substitute) of low-fat turkey bologna,” ​said the researchers.


PPI was added to turkey bologna at 1.5% and 2% dry weight basis. The characteristics of these products were compared to turkey bolognas with two different concentrations of meat protein (11% and 13%) and a formulation with 2% SPI.

“There were no significant differences among the treatments for all of the sensory attributes evaluated except for appearance where the control-1 treatment​ [11% meat protein] was significantly less preferred over the other treatments,” ​said the study.

The researchers said that PPI formulation was acceptable, but could be improved by increasing saltiness and decreasing firmness.

“The results from this study will help industry to prepare novel poultry products utilizing the protein isolates prepared from low-value poultry sources,” ​they concluded.

The study put the preparation cost of frozen PPI at around $1.44/kg.

The researchers added that further use of PPI would help to maintain a sustainable poultry industry.


J Food Sci. 2012 Jul;77(7):S274-80.
doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02772.x.
‘Use of poultry protein isolate as a food ingredient: sensory and color characteristics of low-fat Turkey bologna'
Authors: Omana DA, Pietrasik Z, Betti M.

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