Food and beverage ingredient company Wixon Inc. announced an expansion of services with its Protein Group Division, offering protein expertise for both retail and foodservice. Working within Wixon’s new Meat and Poultry Pilot Plant, the Protein Group Division is staffed by meat scientists, flavor chemists, food technologists, and analytical and quality experts.

“The team can help with everything in the protein arena from ideation and R&D to mapping out flavor, process, and product prototypes,” says Ron Ratz, director of protein development for Wixon. “Now we offer our customers even more in the way of science, service, and solutions.”

Wixon’s corporate chef, Jud McLester, also is part of the protein team as he assists with product testing, evaluating, and product formulations at the Innovation Center for Culinary and Meat Processing where customers can create, taste, and test all types of protein products in their finished form.

“Our Innovation Center and Meat and Poultry Pilot Plant reflects our commitment to growth through development and use of new technologies, resulting in genuine added value to our products and thus to our customers,” Ratz says.

Wixon’s Meat and Poultry Pilot Plant offers all the benefits of full-service plant production but on a smaller economic scale. Features that enable production of finished products for immediate testing include tumblers, automated injector system, grinders, stuffers, patty makers, steam kettle, vacuum packaging, retail tray overwrap unit, breading and batter capabilities, walk-in freezers/coolers, chilled processing room, smokehouse, and linear cook capabilities. An in-house regulatory department counsels on appropriate adherence from label requirements to nutritional content.

“Small quantities of potentially new products can be produced to minimize cost and waste associated with product development and research,” Ratz says. “We are proficient in all aspects of meat processing from sanitation and meat fabrication to sausage production and processing economics.”

He added that the Protein Division has the ability to assist its customers with methods and techniques on how to: chop meat formulations for maximum benefit; extract higher percentages of available protein for better bite and yield; control temperature during emulsifying; add salt, phosphate, sodium erythorbate, and spices for maximum benefit; and produce two- and three-part base and coarse emulsions.

“We are already well-known for flavor and seasoning systems, and shelf-life extension technologies, and we are moving forward with that background and knowledge to become a value-added partner and technological expert in protein,” Ratz says.

Wixon’s protein flavor systems have applications of rubs, marinades, meat seasonings, breadings and batters, gravies, and dipping sauces. Wix-Fresh technologies target flavor issues including shelf-life extension and meat flavor enhancement.

“Through Wixon’s extensive capabilities in flavors, formulations, research, testing, and production, we are an R&D extension for our customers,” Ratz says.

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