As consumer demand for “all-natural” products continues to remain strong, it is worth considering the differences between natural stocks and broths, and the alternatives. Stocks and broths are produced through an extraction process by which flavor and texture are rendered from animal and vegetable products. This blending of materials creates a liquid that can then be used as a flavoring and fortifying element in any finished product. The terms “stock” and “broth” are often used interchangeably, but generally, a broth has a higher meat-to-bone ratio during the cooking process. Broths are also usually cooked for shorter periods of time. Stocks, on the other hand, can be derived more heavily from bones and vegetables, rather than meat.

A commonly quoted definition of “natural” that first appeared in the FDA Consumer magazine is: “ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products, as opposed to being produced synthetically.” (See for the article.) The USDA’s legal definition for “natural” applying to meat and poultry is: “those products carrying the ‘natural’ claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and are only ‘minimally processed,’ defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product.” (See

There continues to be no U.S. government-regulated definition for the term “natural.” However, Hormel Foods Ingredients supplies a line of stocks that meet both USDA and FDA requirements to be certified as natural. Those ingredients are:
* Beef Stock Dried and Frozen.
* Pork Stock Dried and Frozen.
* Chicken Stock Dried and Frozen.
* Turkey Stock Dried and Frozen.

Hormel Foods Ingredients has long been a producer of meat and poultry stocks in frozen, dry and paste form. These stocks and extracts feature real meat flavors from chicken-, turkey-, beef- and pork-based ingredients.  The most basic of these items are also certified as all-natural.  “The statement ‘natural’ continues to be discussed and debated within the food industry, causing the discussion on what is natural and what is not to be anything but simple,” says Melanie Brechka, national sales manager, Hormel Foods Ingredients. 

In addition to offering all-natural products, as defined by the FDA and USDA, Hormel also features value-added natural products, as defined by the FDA. They include Savory Flavor Boosters in all species and South American Beef Extract Replacers, just to name a few. pf

For more information:
Hormel Foods Specialty Products • Austin, Minn.
Melanie Brechka • 908-236-7009, ext. 252 •