Marinades are particularly important in breaded poultry applications where the marinade can serve a functional purpose in addition to providing flavor.
The flavour specialist takes product developers through the “flavor continuum” to develop the perfect marinade for virtually any meat or poultry format based on its decades of formulation expertise, market insight on the latest food trends and a global portfolio of ingredients.
Here GlobalMeatNews speaks to John Stephanian, VP, global culinary & innovation, ADM, to find out how developing meat and poultry marinades has changed over the years.
“ADM’s legacy within the food and beverage industry dates back to the early 1900s, and we have broadened our flavor and specialty ingredient capabilities dramatically in the last few years through acquisitions and evolution of our flavor and culinary capabilities,” said Stephanian.
“The culinary innovation team at ADM leverages the collective expertise of chefs and culinologists from diverse backgrounds to create innovative solutions. Our team works alongside our customers to ideate solutions, and then we partner with our technical team to bring a culinary concept to life.”
According to Stephanian, consumers today have very high expectations for the sensory characteristics of foods and beverages, and their purchasing decisions bear this out. They are more likely to select options that offer visual excitement and bold, interesting flavors while eschewing products that are too bland or miss the mark in terms of visual appeal.
“Our approach to creating exciting, consumer-preferred flavor systems helps brands create culinary identities for their products. The process allows us to work collaboratively with formulators, marketers and the culinary team to develop flavorful and delicious products aligned with consumers’ expectations,” he added.
ADM’s flavor continuum is an exercise it uses to pinpoint the various sensory aspects of a marinade that will ultimately contribute to the finished product’s eating experience. The process enables ADM to tailor a formulation based on the desired taste and appearance of the finished product.
Culinary gold standard
“Our strategy for developing a marinade typically begins with identifying the culinary gold standard for the finished product. We use this as a benchmark to guide us throughout the development process. We also factor in not only the needs and parameters specified by the brand but also the preferences and perspective of the consumer,” said Stephanian.
“Using chicken shawarma as an example, we would focus on replicating the depth of flavor that comes from the spice blend as well as other sensory aspects unique to the slow-roasting shawarma technique, like the juiciness of the meat. The ideal marinade should replicate the sensory cues of both the flavor and cooking technique. Consumers will judge a finished product by how well it lines up to the product positioning, so it is crucial to deliver an authentic taste and texture.”
ADM is always exploring what’s next in flavors and cooking techniques and how it can bring ideas to life within the realm of marinades. It is currently exploring new ways to translate the flavor and aroma notes of open-flame woodfire cooking into marinades. As well as experimenting with the flavors of charred navel oranges—woodfired and charred on the outside with caramelized, sweet juices inside—which lend a smokiness to marinade and sauce applications.
“ADM has a vast and growing portfolio of flavor ingredients and seasonings that allows us to deliver the authentic eating experiences consumers demand, and we help customers deliver consistently delicious products with our deep knowledge of culinary techniques and formulation best practices,” said Mike Cocco, enior Food Scsientist, ADM.
“We develop marinades understanding the various aspects that can influence the overall eating experience—the cut of meat used, the process by which the marinade is applied, traits of the target consumer and more. Our solutions are scalable, and we offer marinades in both liquid and powdered forms.
Our marinades can also deliver significant cost savings for product developers since fresh ingredients for marinades can be very expensive. Our marinade delivery systems guarantee that every bite of the finished product provides the desired flavor, an experience that’s challenginto accomplish with topically applied seasoning blends.”
Globally inspired flavors
According to Stephanian, consumers are more connected to each other than ever before. Many of the food and beverage trends it sees in the US are the result of increasing awareness of various cuisines and flavors popular in regions across the world. Consumers perceive globally inspired flavors as exotic and seek them out for the culinary experience, not just to satisfy an eating occasion.
“Spicy flavors often appeal to consumers because of the physical sensation they provide. Preferences vary, but the heat and tingly mouthfeel of a spicy product is enjoyable to many people. The consumer palate for spice is also becoming much more nuanced with increasing desire for specific pepper varietals and hyper-local regional spices,” he added.
“Today, both ethnic and varietal flavors are trending across categories, and we anticipate growing interest in spicy marinated products. Flavors like Sicilian lemon and black garlic offer a twist on the familiar to excite consumers without pushing them too far out of their comfort zone.
Food trends are always evolving, so we are continuously expanding our portfolio and capabilities to ensure we can offer our customers a well-rounded suite of on-trend solutions. One of the trends we are tuned into today is growing interest in yuzu kosho, a spicy blend of flavors popularized in Japanese cuisine which combines fermented chilies and citrus fruits. As consumers have become more comfortable with ethnic cuisine over the past several years, they have become more willing to experiment with unfamiliar flavor combinations and novel ingredients like this.
“We are also seeing an uptick in demand for flavor systems suitable for particular cooking methods, such as sous vide. For sous vide applications, we tailor the flavor system to complement the cooking technique and ensure the finished product delivers the intense flavors consumers desire.”