Various market studies show the majority of consumers base their meat and poultry purchase decisions on visual attributes and correlate bright red color with quality and freshness. That is why so many meat and poultry manufacturers rely on a rosemary and green tea extract blend from Kemin for color and flavor protection in their applications.

It’s also true that grinding meat disrupts its natural protective mechanisms and exposes phospholipids, which are especially susceptible to oxidation. Therefore, both fresh and fresh frozen ground meats are threatened by two types of oxidation: the phospholipids (polar molecules), and triglycerides (non-polar molecules) in the visible fat portion of the meat.

“Degradation occurs in ground meats even during frozen storage, so the key to maintaining freshness in these products is to delay both lipid and myoglobin oxidation,” notes Courtney Schwartz, Kemin Food Technologies’ senior marketing communications manager. “To retain the ground meat’s flavor and color attributes, the entire matrix must be protected. Studies have demonstrated that rosemary and green tea extracts can enhance or protect color and flavor, as well as increase shelf life of ground meat products, by providing protection to both the phospholipids (polar) and triglycerides (non-polar) portions of the meat.”

At the same time, there is growing consumer demand for minimally processed, label friendly ingredients. Plant-derived extracts meet this demand, and have been proven effective in maintaining flavor and bright red color in ground meats. They are recognized for their ability to preserve the appearance, taste and quality of meat products without negatively impacting flavor, color and odor profiles. Rosemary extract protects the non-polar triglycerides, and has been widely used to extend shelf life and enhance flavor of foods. Green tea extract protects the polar phospholipids, and imparts added protection to ground meats.

A color stability study conducted at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln meat lab evaluated:

1. Untreated

2. Rosemary extract treated

3. Rosemary and green tea extract treated ground beef under simulated retail display. Results showed that ground beef treated with Kemin rosemary and green tea extract combination, yielded the least discoloration and most typical bright cherry red color of ground beef (measured by a* values)

When treated on an equal cost basis, a rosemary/green tea extract combination is a more effective natural solution than rosemary or green tea extracts alone. Why? It protects the entire lipid portion of the ground meat and allows for a higher application rate.

Using a rosemary extract and green tea extract blend may provide other advantages over single-ingredient solutions. First, adding high use levels of rosemary extract or green tea extract alone may impart a negative flavor on meat; the blend of both extracts would not and thus can be applied at higher use rates. Second, the catechins in green tea extract may act as an iron chelator, suppressing the iron released from the hemoglobin that can be prevalent in ground meat and can act as an oxidant.

Meat manufacturers can properly control their products’ quality attributes with the use of a rosemary and green tea extract blend from Kemin. This blend better allows meat manufacturers to take advantage of fluctuating meat prices by purchasing at optimal times, knowing that they can keep their meat supply protected from oxidation longer. The blend also helps reduce waste and efficiently utilizes equipment and labor — allowing manufacturers to benefit from increased margins, due to maintained price stability.

Kemin – Inspired Molecular Solutions™

Kemin ( provides “inspired molecular solutions” specifically developed to provide nutrition and health benefits for humans and animals. Committed to feed and food safety, Kemin maintains top-of-the-line manufacturing facilities where approximately 500 specialty ingredients are made for the global feed and food industries as well as the health, nutrition and beauty markets. A privately held, family-owned and operated company, Kemin has nearly 2,000 employees and operates in more than 90 countries with manufacturing facilities in Belgium, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Singapore, South Africa and the United States.

Kemin Food Technologies

2100 Maury Street
Des Moines, IA 50317
Ph: 515-559-5100