Myths / Q&A

Flavour Enhancements

1. Introduction

The marination or flavour enhancement of chicken meat through the addition of a brine solution is practiced to improve the tenderness of muscle fibres, and thereby enhance meat quality and taste. Current market trends and consumer demands have led to the acceptance of three dimensions of quality, namely:
  • Food safety guarantees
  • Sensory quality i.e. taste (palatability), smell and visual appeal
  • Nutritional value
These properties are what today's consumers place most emphasis on when defining their preferences in purchasing frozen chicken. Additional attributes that influence consumer satisfaction are those related to texture and consistency, characterised by tenderness and juiciness.

2. Background

Marination or flavour enhancement refers to the process by which an aqueous solution is added to the meat. The brine solution is mainly composed of water and different ingredients including vegetable extracts, natural flavours and salts. The effect of marination or flavor enhancement is essentially in the moisture retention during cooking ensuring a more succulent and tender product.

It is important to emphasise that excessive flavour enhancement can have a negative impact on meat quality, producing a less acceptable product.

The reason for flavour enhancement is simply to produce a better chicken eating experience! During the slaughter process, chicken meat loses its natural moisture and tenderness. This typically renders the meat dry and tough, especially the breast meat. Hence, the introduction of brine marination technology to overcome the dryness and toughness of the chicken meat. In addition, a quick freezing method ensures that the brine is retained in the meat thereby counteracting the loss of moisture.

3. Astral's Standard Practice

Whilst no legislation currently exists that regulates brine enhancement levels in chicken meat, Astral continuously measures the impact of flavor enhancement practice on the quality of our final products. Government and Industry bodies are in discussion in an endeavour to set appropriate industry standards.