Givaudan develops natural nitrate alternative for processed meat

The new solution, NaNino+, leverages natural ingredients to provide what Givaudan describes as ‘a lasting multi-sensorial food experience’ with ‘great taste, colour and freshness’.

The need for nitrite-free options

Nitrite is a common preservative in meat products. Known as E250 in the European Union, the additive is frequently used to give cured meats like bacon a pink colour. In meat, nitrites turn into nitric oxide, which reacts with proteins in the meat, changing its colour and helping preserve it.

But while nitrites serve a useful functional purpose, in 2015 a World Health Organization report classified processed meat as carcinogenic because curing – by adding nitrates or nitrites by smoking – can lead to the formation of potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

According to Givaudan, it developed this latest innovation in response to ‘increased scrutiny around nitrites’ and ‘growing consumer demand for healthier alternatives’. This is prompting processed meat manufacturers to look for clean label solutions to naturally avoid the use of nitrites in their recipes, the ingredient supplier suggested.

“Because nitrites provide multiple benefits, replacing them is no easy task. Alternative solutions must provide the same level of performance without the associated risks,”​ explained Guillaume Gaborit, Global Product Manager for Sense Preservation at Givaudan.

NaNino+ is ‘an integrated solution’ that not only ensures freshness throughout shelf life, but also ‘delivers a cured-like multi-sensory experience’ in terms of taste and colour, the product manager suggested. “This compelling combination provides high performance in the application itself and may allow for a ‘nitrite-free claim on the label,”​ depending on the rest of the recipe.

NaNino+ is a new addition to the company’s Sense Preservation portfolio of natural shelf life solutions and complements its existing clean label curing alternatives. Available initially in Europe for emulsified cooked sausages to start, expansion to other applications, such as cooked ham and bacon will follow.

Aurélie d’Espalungue, Regional Product Manager Functional Ingredients, Europe, said the launch is well timed as ‘many European regulators are questioning the use of nitrites in processed meat’.

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