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August 5, 2008
Grill flavors can capture the essence of summer—even in the middle of winter. However, like grilling itself, not all grill flavors are created alike.
To get inside the mind of the consumer when it comes to grill flavors, Red Arrow Products Company LLC conducted an independent research study. Random consumers in Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia were asked to sample two grill flavors in chicken breast. One sample had a traditional grill flavor that is characterized as similar to butane or lighter fluid. The second grill flavor was classified as a multidimensional flavor comprised of char, roast, smoke and grill elements to more closely emulate the true character of grilled foods.
Results showed 63% preferred the multidimensional grill flavor, and 37% preferred the one-dimensional, butane-like grill flavor. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of the surveyed consumers had grilled 11 or more times within the past year. Of that group, 64.5% preferred the multidimensional grill flavor. A key finding was that 76% of the respondents who preferred the multidimensional grill flavor said they would be willing to pay more for that sample.
Red Arrow also conducted a trial of the same samples with corporate and certified research chefs. Of that group, 80% preferred the multidimensional grill flavor. Also, 73.5% noted existing grill flavors tend to be too one-dimensional, with overly butane-like notes—a character that has led 43% of the surveyed chefs to avoid using grill flavors altogether.
The variety of cooking media used while grilling make for a complex process from a flavor standpoint, notes Mark Crass, vice president of sales and marketing, and not all proteins call for the same grill flavors. “For example, char notes work extremely well on beef patties by capturing the flavor of the grill line or mark,” he says.
“With red meat, I would recommend, in order of intensity, grill, savory, smoke and char flavors,” says Nick Pajor, corporate research chef. “For pork, the order would be smoke, grill, savory and then char. And for poultry, it would be savory, grill and smoke.”
The multidimensional grill flavors are heat stable and maintain intensity through high-heat cooking, such as microwave heating, says Crass. “In addition, the flavors survive the freeze/thaw process, which makes them ideal for heat-and-eat and ready-to-cook type applications,” he says.
The application potential for these flavors extends beyond the world of meat and poultry. “Our customized approach for grill flavors will also work for a variety of nonmeat applications,” says Albert Musca, CEC, corporate chef, such as “a seasoning blend that could be shaken on products such as vegetables, tofu or potatoes.”
Red Arrow can create customized grill flavors that balance a range of notes, including char, smoke, grill, meaty, caramelized and seared, to lend an authentic, “right-off-the-grill” experience to a variety of foods.
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