Brine & Marinade Trends, Balancing Shear & Flow

Written by Allen Dawson, Meat & Poultry Market Manager

Today in meat & poultry plants, ingredient labels for brines and marinades typically list water, salt and phosphates, etc. Since water is such a large part of the finished product, plants must check its quality. For any marination system to work well, the water must be clean and soft. See our earlier blog about water quality.

Once the water quality is under control, the most important part of the entire line is the mixing. Ingredients must be mixed in the proper order and mixed with the right equipment for achieving the necessary amount of “shear and flow” to hydrate and suspend the ingredients. One of the trends on the rise with today’s marination ingredients is using natural ingredients in place of phosphates and bacteria inhibitors. Just when the phosphate guys got it right with complex phosphates that can be mixed at cold temperatures with hard water, the all-natural ingredients coming into play can be very tough to break down and need maximum shear to go into solutions in the fastest time possible. Many facilities must mix for thirty minutes before adding the next ingredient, and that’s a lot of time added to your process. If this is your current situation, you are either going to need more time and a much larger blending area or an in-plant process audit at no charge from Admix may uncover processing solutions aimed to reduce your overall operating costs.

Now that the natural ingredients have been added, another trend is adding some type of starch or ground up peppers or vegetables. The problem is, if you use too high of a shear on starches you may damage the functionality of them, and this could cost you millions of dollars a year in simple yield loss. For this reason, you must reduce the shear and increase the flow. The flow will pull these light ingredients into your solution and suspend them there.

So how do you solve this problem needing high shear up front and then high flow in the end? With the right equipment for your mixing rooms and your applications. We are solving these problems every day with some of the largest meat and poultry companies in the world. Even they admit that mixing is so complex that they prefer to rely on the mixing experts at Admix. There is a tremendous amount science and engineering that goes into maximizing shear and flow and they recognize it.

In fact, many large system integration companies view the mixers as a small part of the overall system. To them, a mixer in a large installation is like a hubcap on a car. But we know differently. You can spend thirty million dollars on a new line and lose yield from day one if your mixer isn’t right. Don’t worry, we understand this vital part of the process, the mixer (hubcap) that is the engine driving the whole process.

If you are experiencing any issues such as these that I have mentioned or something even more unique, please contact Admix, the mixing technology experts! We will be proud to share our expertise with you to help solve your mixing and blending pains.

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