May 2004 Issue--Less than a decade ago, restaurant patrons were happy with just an herb-roasted chicken breast or a piece of salmon flavored with teriyaki sauce at a fine dining restaurant. That was also when many large food manufacturers played it safe by producing basic food products, flavored to meet mainstream expectations, which helped guarantee good sales because consumers were familiar with the flavors. Popular flavors included Lemon Pepper, Italian, Cajun and Barbecue.

It was mostly smaller food manufacturers that produced uniquely flavored products, which were distributed and sold regionally across the country. They were marketed as specialty or gourmet products. Smaller companies could be more innovative and respond more quickly to the needs of the market. Their products tended to be more adventurous.

Today, many of these specialty and gourmet products are produced by some of America's largest manufacturers, and can be found in large grocery chains. Products such as French's (Del Rio, Texas) line of GourMayo, a gourmet-flavored mayonnaise, can be used either as a condiment or a base ingredient in salads such as tuna and chicken. Flavors include Chipotle Chili, Wasabi Horseradish and Sun Dried Tomato.

McCormick & Co. (Hunt Valley, Md.) has launched a line of seasonings called “1 Step Seasonings Flavors.” These products come with a simple recipe featuring 1 Step Seasoning as the main flavoring component, and take less than 30 minutes to complete. There is not even a need for salt and pepper. Product flavors include Chicken (with a Jambalaya Express recipe), and Beef (with a Simple Spaghetti Meat Sauce recipe).


The use of marinades to prepare meats and vegetables is a trend that continues to grow in sales with large manufacturers. If food producers can bridge the gap between high-end flavored menu items served in popular restaurants, and basic prepared food entrées sold in the retail grocery store, this would yield premium-quality products. As history has proven, consumers are willing to pay higher prices for what they perceive to be good-quality, good-tasting foods.

A marinade is a seasoned liquid usually containing an acid, herbs and spices. Foods are soaked in marinades to absorb flavors, and they become tender. This process also prevents food from drying out. The acid ingredient used in a marinade can be vinegar, wine, line, lemon or orange juice. It is the acid that makes the food tender. In North African and Middle Eastern countries, plain yogurt is used as an uncooked marinade. The enzymes in the yogurt act as a tenderizer. This also happens when buttermilk is used as an ingredient in a marinade. There are two main types of marinades, raw and cooked marinades.

Raw Marinades

Raw marinades are used on tender foods such as fish or chicken, which require only a short time to marinate. There are many varieties of recipes that use marination to cook food raw. The classical example is a lime juice marinade used with fish or shellfish to make the popular South American dish seviche, made with fresh fish or shellfish, lime juice, white onions, jalapeño peppers, salad oil, oregano leaves, bell peppers and cilantro. Soy sauces and fruit juices can also be used as base ingredients for raw marinades.

Cooked Marinades

Cooked marinades are used to give strong flavors to beef and game foods. Red wine and many commercial retail products fall into the category of cooked marinades. One chef who uses marinades to fully flavor his foods is Chef Marcus Sameulsson, who last year won the James Beard award for being the best chef in New York, for his Swedish/American-inspired concept, Aquavit. Recently, he opened the restaurant Riingo, also in New York.

Riingo (which means apple in Japanese), takes a modern approach by combining the best of American and Japanese dining. Executive Chef Johan Svensson works with Sameulsson to create one of the most talked-about menus in The Big Apple. They have presented items such as Roasted Chicken with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Buffalo Skewer with Smoked Chili Sauce and Beer Braised Short Ribs with Apple Purée. Chef Svensson has created a line of condiments with the same American-Japanese influence evidenced in all of the house-made sushi, as well as his herbed fries, potato pancakes and cheeseburgers with duck bacon. Condiment sauce flavors are Tomato Ginger, Jasmine Tea Vinaigrette, Yellow Tomato Sweet and Sour, Smokey Chili Sauce, Black Soy Glaze and a Yuzu Miso Dressing.

Morey's Seafood International (Motley, Minn.) has a line of packaged, marinaded salmon in six flavors. Cooking the two fillets (6 oz. each) per package has been described as “fool proof,” requiring only 15 minutes to cook, and there is a pop-up timer attached to the fillets. The products also are low in carbs and high in protein. Flavors are Hickory, Teriyaki, Twelve Pepper Medley, Garlic Cracked Pepper, Lemon Dill and Seasoned Grilled.

Lawry's Foods Inc. (Monrovia, Calif.) recently launched a line of 12 marinades. Some popular flavors are Ginger with Mandarin Orange Juice, Havana Garlic & Lime with Lemon Juice, Thai Ginger Marinade with Lime Juice, Caribbean Jerk Marinade with Papaya Juice and Hawaiian Marinade with Tropical Fruit Juice.


Rubs (also called dry marinades) also are used for flavor enhancement. They are made with a mixture of herbs and spices, sometimes moistened with a little oil. Rubs are applied directly on meat, poultry or fish before cooking. The foods are then grilled, broiled or pan-fried.

Urban Accents (Chicago), a spice company that produces a line of gourmet herbs, spices and assorted culinary products, has a line of rubs made to give the cook some simple yet complex flavors. There is a basic Beef & Burger Rub, made with salt, celery seeds, dill seeds, black mustard, mushroom powder, garlic, crushed red pepper and other spices. There also is a Chicken & Poultry Rub, Fish & Seafood Rub, Pork Rub, Turkey Rub and a Veggie Rub.

Christopher Ranch (Gilroy, Calif.) has been a family-owned business since the 1880s and produces over 70 million pounds of fresh garlic each year. Christopher Ranch produces a ready-made Roasted Garlic Clove product, which has a rich, nutty flavor. It can be used as a spread on bread or eaten in pasta dishes, mashed potatoes, or salads. This type of product illustrates a new food trend: applying whole ingredients directly into a finished dish, like the roasted garlic.

Showcase: Tropical and Fantasy Flavors

Not only are these rubs and marinades free of added hormones and antibiotics, they are available in delectable flavor profiles. Kerry Ingredients' Natural and Organic Rubs and Marinades are the answer to growing consumer demand for natural and organic meat and poultry products. Flavors include Spicy Asian, which uses Asian spices with a hint of heat, and a full-flavored Greek Isle. One hundred percent organic and all-natural seasoning blends also are available. Contact the company for more information on designing your next value-added meat product. Kerry Ingredients, Cynthia Sasaki, 253-395-9400,

This company specializes in custom development to meet a wide range of formulation requirements. Ventura Foods LLC is a full line producer of sauces and marinades, with coast-to-coast manufacturing and distribution capabilities. The company strives to meet technology hurdles by utilizing industry-experienced R&D, QA and operations staff. Working together on state-of-the-art systems, Ventura Foods can design products to meet a wide range of client needs. The company also provides the best economical and practical packaging and delivery systems for all of its sauces and marinades. Ventura Foods LLC, Frank Stynes, 800-326-2253,

A series of custom-made flavor systems for rubs, marinades and sauces, as well as state-of-the-art flavor technology, helps to transform seasonings into value-added delivery systems. IFF's flavor profiles are created using the chef-designed CulinEssence™ approach, incorporating the latest insights from today's global cuisine trends. IFF's rigorous applications testing group ensures flavor performance in manufacturing and foodservice environments. A recent expansion of IFF's blending facility in Carrollton, Texas, has increased its capability to deliver high-quality and consistent flavor systems, with the shortest possible turnaround times. IFF, Debbie Jarrettbangs, 732-274-6585,,

See why all of the most popular BBQ sauces, marinades and meat rubs contain Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce. You also have the opportunity to taste the reason why Yamasa is the preferred Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce for the finest chefs. When a fine chef prepares a meat dish, the chef wants the very best presentation, the best aroma and the best flavor. Yamasa's four-century-old brew process is a big reason so many chefs prefer Yamasa Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce. Whether it's a sauce, a marinade or a rub, Yamasa helps to make the experience special. Yamasa, Michael Loera, 310-944-3883, x103,

Gleaning the tastes and textures from the cuisine indigenous to the universal vacation paradise, this company offers a portfolio of sweet, spicy, fragrant and fresh Caribbean savory ingredients for finished products. Griffith Laboratories has launched the Caribbean Technovations Program—Try a Taste of Tropics. These products are available for entrées: Kingston Jerk Marinade, Tortola Tropical Marinade, Ropa Vieja Marinade and Calypso Coconut Glaze. For sides and salads, these items work well: West Indian Peas and Rice Seasoning, Creole Sweet Potato Glaze, Tortola Tropical Seasoning and Tortola Tropical Dressing. Griffith Laboratories, Susan Andersen, 800-346-9494, ext. 2402,

Certified Master Chef Michael Robins has created 12 restaurant-quality sauces that include Burgundy Mushroom, Teriyaki, Chili Garlic and Authentic Mexican. GSC Blending is expanding its line of Chef's Prep just-add-water sauces to include four sauces specifically for seafood: Ginger Cream, Lemon Butter with Dill, Garlic & Herb and Scampi. Chef's Prep sauces are superb and can be scaled from single-serving to buffet-style preparations. They allow all kitchen professionals to offer unique and romantic dishes with convenience and no waste. The sauces all are excellent when made with water and can be embellished with common ingredients to create “signature” dishes. GSC Blending, Bob Shapiro, 800-453-9997

Authentic flavor complexity for South American, Spanish, Mexican or Caribbean tropical food products is available in one base system. Eatem Food Co.'s Latino Base adds intense chile heat contrasted with sweet citrus notes, deepened with fresh herbs and exotic spice combinations. The base imparts both subtle and bold taste perceptions, depending on usage level. It can be used successfully as a foundation in salsas, condiments, marinades and dressings, and as a seasoning for protein entrées, sauces and sides. Eatem Foods Co., Jim Gervato, 800-683-2836,

A new line of classic sauces and condiments makes it easy to prepare today's most popular Asian specialties--without having to source hard-to-find, inconsistent specialty ingredients. Kikkoman's Asian Authentics premium sauces line--Hoisin Sauce, Black Bean Sauce, Plum Sauce and Thai Chili Sauce--features essential “flavor building blocks” for making everything from stir-fries to rice and noodle bowls, wraps, appetizers, salads and sandwiches. They are ready for use--right from the convenient, plastic bottle. Kikkoman International Inc., 800-944-0600,

A line of dry poultry and meat seasonings in single-use foil pouches makes serving your customers easy! Each product can be customized with specific preparation directions printed right on the pouch. The pouches are great for the foodservice segment, and give several options to foodservice operators. A processor simply can add pouches to a package of plain chicken breast or everyday pork chops, and the consumer has an easy way to provide exciting flavor. The pouched rubs are available in a flavorful variety, including Barbecue, Cajun, Caribbean, Latin American, Italian and Asian, or they can be customized. Chr. Hansen, Karen Wood, 800-558-0802,

Soy Sauce is a fermented flavor, traditionally dark in color, and is used throughout the world in dishes such as teriyaki or marinades. Nikken Foods Company now offers a truly fermented Soy Sauce Powder that is light in color and taste. The Soy Sauce #5317 is an “all-natural” ingredient that is almost cream-colored. The light color lends itself to applications in cheese sauces, poultry seasonings, pork gravies, soups and many other prepared foods. Nikken Foods,

With the grilling craze at an all-time high, this is the perfect ingredient for ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat beef, chicken, pork and more, because it's not just about adding heat, it's about adding great smoky flavor. TABASCO[r] brand Chipotle Sauce is the newest member of the Industrial Ingredients lineup. It's made from select smoked red jalapeño peppers and has a smooth, rich smoky flavor. Chipotle Sauce is McIlhenny Company's first pepper sauce that can be sprinkled on like a condiment, or really poured on like a steak sauce or marinade. Try it in snack dips, dipping sauces and gourmet mayonnaise. Samples available. TABASCO[r] brand Ingredients, 337-373-6109,

Capitalize on hot sales from bold flavors of convenience and ethnic flavor trends with bold flavor marinade recipes. Convenience products are driving sales in foodservice and retail environments. French's Flavor Ingredients can help food processors create delicious, marinated, ready-to-cook or heat-and-eat/serve products to meet this demand. Made using Frank's[r] RedHot[r] sauces, French's mustards and Cattleman's[r] barbecue sauces, these signature marinades retain moisture while adding popular ethnic flavors to meat, poultry and seafood. For recipes, ask for Elyse Gomez. French's Flavor Ingredients, 800-4-FRENCH,

A series of established flavors and flavor systems has been specifically designed to duplicate traditional culinary techniques—without compromising the creative signature of the chef. Chef's Shortcuts™ save time and money, while providing shelf-stable ingredients with batch-to-batch consistency. The flavors are adaptable to many applications: entrées, side dishes, soups, sauces, dressings, marinades, processed meats, and seasonings. They are easy to handle in production and storage and offer batch-to-batch consistency, replacing hard-to-source ingredients. Samples available. WILD Flavors Inc., John Bauman, 859-342-3589,,

These barbecue sauce lines have distinctly different flavor profiles and different flavor varieties within each. Kraft Food Ingredients' sauces include the brands of KRAFT[r], BULLS-EYE[r]‚ and OPEN PIT[r]. KRAFT products are available in Original and Hickory Smoke flavors, and the brand helps deliver consistent flavor and quality. The distinctive flavor of BULL'S-EYE barbecue sauce blends well with meats, seafood and poultry, while superior cling means less waste for processors. Great for basting, baking and roasting, OPEN PIT barbecue sauce is ideal as a base in the creation of signature sauces. Kraft Food Ingredients, Jim Wild, 901-381-6500