GEA’s new marination system maintains ham quality

Using GEA’s MultiCarve, food manufacturers can prepare products that retain the right balance of moisture, succulence and tenderness, ready for tumbling, forming, cooking, and slicing and packing

GEA has developed a system for tenderising meat that optimises the distribution of brine and provides ham with better sliceability, while also reducing slicing losses.

By using the GEA MultiCarve, a tenderising process between the injection and tumbling stages, food manufacturers are reproducing ham products that offer quality characteristics like mouthfeel, taste and texture with pork and poultry cuts.

Consumers are looking for ham which is tasty, tender, and in convenient and cohesive slices. The GEA MultiCarve can thus support pork and poultry cold cut manufacturers. Following injection, the meat used for ham is put through a set of bladed rollers, improving protein extraction, exposing greater surface area and releasing any tension within the meat, resulting in a more succulent texture and a well bonded product later on.

This releasing of tension works wonders for the meat. Being an animal product, cuts of pork vary in terms of their fat to meat ratio, the grain of the meat in each piece, the tenderness and so on. By putting the meat through the MultiCarve stage before further processing, it can reduce tension, allowing the ham to be formed more smoothly later on.

The MultiCarve can be equipped with a selection of different rotating knife rollers, which can be adjusted as required either to gently follow the contours of the meat or alternatively, more vigorously for tougher cuts such as shoulder ham. Putting the meat through this process also has the added benefit of reducing the time needed for curing, enhancing productivity.

Pork remains the world’s most widely eaten type of meat, with pork-based products accounting for 36% of all meat consumed.1 Since pigs are efficient to rear and well-managed the world over, pig products are forecast to retain their hold on the market for the foreseeable future, with their popularity increasing year on year.

Ham is massively important in this market, given its popularity as a convenient option for sandwiches and salads. Creating products that look appealing, taste good, have the right texture and mouthfeel, and the ability to slice well has never been more important.

Willem Poos, product group owner for marination at GEA, added: “GEA’s technology for the preparation of ham really is best-in-class because of its reliability, speed, and consistent accuracy. As well as this, the machinery has been designed with GEA’s slogan: ‘Engineering for a better world’ in mind. When ham and poultry slicing logs are difficult to slice, there is more waste on the slicing line. The MultiCarve is addressing this issue, by treating and preparing the meat to provide products that deliver the results time and time again.”