It takes technique
With chilies, as well as many dried herbs and spices, large particulates suggest bold flavor to the consumer. To the processor, they remind to “proceed with caution.”
“Seasoning is an art and science rolled into one discipline,” Schaefer says. “Particle size of the seasoning is an important consideration. We work with our partners to identify the difference between a visually pleasing appearance in the finished product and a spice particulate that could potentially clog processing equipment.
“We custom grind spices, seeds and herbs, as well as dry-blend ingredients to create unique seasoning blends,” Schaefer adds.
The technical challenges of applying seasoning to meat and poultry products depend on the final product, according to Poulson Joseph, lead scientist at Kalsec. “For example, in ground products such as sausages, seasonings could be incorporated during mixing as a direct addition, while in marinated products the seasoning system has to be dispersed via brines and marinades, and further be dispersible in muscle tissues. You want consistent flavor throughout.”
The pH of the system must be considered as well, as some seasonings are very acidic. “Too much acidity can lead to undesirable protein denaturation,” Schaefer says.
With all the culinary noise out there, people are exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and cooking techniques, Schaefer notes. “They want to be a little more adventurous in their lives, and food is a moderately safe way to do it.”