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Strategies to Improve Textural Quality in Low-Fat Meat Products

Emulsified cooked meat products such as bologna, nuggets and sausages are produced from comminuted or finely homogenized meat14. They generally contain high saturated fats from animal sources that are linked with increased prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and obesity around the world7,10.

Fat reduction is a big challenge in the meat industry as ensuring the texture is succulent and flavourful is important. When the fat content is reduced, the meat products tend to be firmer, rubbery, and less juicy1,4. Hence, there have been many strategies explored by the meat industry for reducing fat content while retaining its desirable sensory and textural attributes7.

The challenges can be remediated through water-binding ingredients like inulin and rice starches.


Inulin is a soluble dietary fiber extracted from chicory roots, that possesses excellent properties as a carbohydrate-based fat substitute.  With its ability to form a stable gel network and great water holding capacity, inulin can be used to mimic some textural properties of fat and contributes a smooth, creamier, juicier mouthfeel in low-fat formulations and provides good source of dietary fiber12. It also successfully enhances emulsion stabilisation and cooking yield2,8. In addition, inulin remains stable without a significant loss of physical, chemical, microbiological, or sensory attributes during storage in dry-fermented products11.

Specialty Rice Ingredients

Starches are commonly used as water absorbents and binding agents in sausages or other processed meat as they retain moisture throughout product processing and storage, and stabilize the emulsion of moisture, fat, and protein13. Starch possesses a thickening effect when the native starch granules swell during heating, leading to a large increase in viscosity6. The small size of rice starch granules and the wide range of amylose content of rice varieties provide opportunities used as fat mimetics in various food items. Waxy rice starch exhibits good water binding performance at a low temperature of about 70–80 °C. This makes it the perfect clean label ingredient to control the yield and juiciness of meat3,15. Besides, experimental results suggest that texture and sensory evaluation of ground pork patties are improved by adding glutinous rice flour5 while modified broken rice can be used as a fat substitute (55% fat reduction) in sausage formulations, yielding lower caloric value products and increasing the texture acceptability of low-fat sausages9.


Tenderness is regarded to be the most crucial sensory characteristic of meat. Inulin and rice ingredients can be considered a viable method that resembles the sensory and textural attributes of animal fat when formulating healthier meat products. At DPO, we are honored to have a partnership with Beneo Orafti and Beneo Remy to bring you a wide range of ingredient choices that will elevate the quality of your meat and seafood products.


1Afshari, R., Hosseini, H., Khaksar, R., Mohammadifar, M., Amiri, Z., Komeili, R., & Khaneghah, A. (2015). Investigation of the Effects of Inulin and β-glucan on the Physical and Sensory Properties of Low-Fat Beef Burgers Containing Vegetable Oils: Optimization of Formulation Using D-optimal Mixture Design. Food Technology And Biotechnology, 53(4), 436–445. https://doi.org/10.17113/ftb.

2Álvarez, D., & Barbut, S. (2013). Effect of inulin, β-Glucan and their mixtures on emulsion stability, color and textural parameters of cooked meat batters. Meat Science, 94(3), 320-327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.02.011

3Beneo. (n.d.). Rice starches, a creamy texture and pleasant mouthfeel.

4Berizi, E., Shekarforoush, S. S., Mohammadinezhad, S., Hosseinzadeh, S., & Farahnaki, A. (2017). The use of inulin as fat replacer and its effect on texture and sensory properties of emulsion type sausages. Iranian journal of veterinary research, 18(4), 253–257.

5Gao, X., Zhang, W., & Zhou, G. (2014). Effects of glutinous rice flour on the physiochemical and sensory qualities of ground pork patties. LWT – Food Science And Technology, 58(1), 135-141. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2014.02.044

6Gençcelep, H., Anil, M., Saricaoğlu, F. T., & Ağar, B. (2017). The Effects Of Different Modified Starches On Some Physical And Texture Properties Of Meat Emulsion. Gida / The Journal Of Food, 42(6), 773-786. https://doi.org/10.15237/gida.gd17038

7Gravelle, A., Barbut, S., & Marangoni, A. (2017). Food-grade filler particles as an alternative method to modify the texture and stability of myofibrillar gels. Scientific Reports, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-11711-1

8Keenan, D., Resconi, V., Kerry, J., & Hamill, R. (2014). Modelling the influence of inulin as a fat substitute in comminuted meat products on their physico-chemical characteristics and eating quality using a mixture design approach. Meat Science, 96(3), 1384-1394. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.11.025

9Limberger, V., Brum, F., Patias, L., Daniel, A., Comarela, C., Emanuelli, T., & Silva, L. (2011). Modified broken rice starch as fat substitute in sausages. Ciência E Tecnologia De Alimentos, 31(3), 789-792. https://doi.org/10.1590/s0101-20612011000300037

10Liu, A. G., Ford, N. A., Hu, F. B., Zelman, K. M., Mozaffarian, D., & Kris-Etherton, P. M. (2017). A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion. Nutrition Journal, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-017-0271-4

11Menegas, L.Z., Pimentel, T.C., Garcia, S. & Prudencio, S.H. (2013). Dry-fermented chicken sausage produced with inulin and corn oil: physicochemical, microbiological, and textural characteristics and acceptability during storage. Meat Science, 93, 501-506. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2012.11.003

12Öztürk, B., & Serdaroğlu, M. (2016). A Rising Star Prebiotic Dietary Fiber: Inulin And Recent Applications In Meat Products. Journal Of Food And Health Science, 3(1), 12-20. https://doi.org/10.3153/jfhs17002

13Pietrasik, Z., Pierce, D. L., & Janz, J. A. M. (2012). The Effect of Selected Starches on Hydration, Textural and Sensory Characteristics of Restructured Beef Products. Journal Of Food Quality, 35(6), 411-418. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfq.12000

14Schilling, M. (2019). Emulsifier Applications in Meat Products. Food Emulsifiers And Their Applications, 347-377. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29187-7_12

15Zavareze, E., Storck, C., de Castro, L., Schirmer, M., & Dias, A. (2010). Effect of heat-moisture treatment on rice starch of varying amylose content. Food Chemistry, 121(2), 358-365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2009.12.036