Improved Yields and Cleaner Labels for Poultry Products with Rice Starch

The global market for poultry products continues to rise and producers are increasingly turning to alternative starches.  Rice in particular is proving popular due to its clean label credentials and ability to increase yields and maintain profit margins. Poultry product manufacturers can make the most of improved taste and texture profiles as well as higher yields by using rice starch.

Healthier alternatives are driving poultry product popularity

Globally, poultry meat consumption is growing more than in any other sector and by 2021 it is expected to overtake pork as the most widely eaten meat[i].  In fact, since 2012, new product launches of poultry products in North America have risen from 397 to 537, an increase of 35.3%[ii].  This significant rise in the popularity of poultry products also comes at a time when, according to Jeremy Garlick, partner at Insight Traction, “Online and convenience store shopping is growing at the expense of bigger supermarkets, but these channels are less profitable, meaning less profit to share in the supply chain. At the same time, discounters have re-set consumer expectation of value for money. Again, squeezing profit for the industry[iii].”

Consumers are also changing allegiance in their poultry purchasing behavior, with an increasing emphasis on products that contain no additives or preservatives and are low, no, or reduced allergen.  According to recent data from Mintel[iv], new product launches in North America have reflected this growing trend, with more than 7% of new poultry product launches carrying a ‘no additives/preservatives’ health claim and almost 7% carrying a ‘low/no/reduced allergen’ claim.

Source: Mintel GNPD, Poultry Products, Europe-ASPAC-NAM, Jan 2012 – Dec 2014

Caption: New product launches in North America show a clear preference for “free-from” poultry products

Meeting demand for higher quality while maintaining margins

With challenging profit margins and increasing demand for clean label and higher quality products, poultry product manufacturers and powder blenders for the meat industry are looking at ways to maintain yields and margins, without having a negative impact on the end product.  This might seem like an impossible feat, but following extensive trials by the BENEO-Technology Center on BENEO’s rice starch (Remyline AX-DR), the results show that this is now possible. 

Using BENEO’s Remyline AX-DR rice starch in the injection and/or tumbling of poultry, the results have shown that its use delivers clean label benefits unlike carrageenan. In comparison to other starches or carrageenan rice starch also has a better yield, leading to higher profits and provides superior organoleptic qualities.

Looking good

Rice starch has the smallest granule size (2-8 µm) in the starch family, meaning excellent dispersion in meat muscle, with no lumping.  When rice starch such as Remyline AX-DR is injected into poultry, or added during tumbling, the brine that contains the starch disperses evenly throughout the meat, creating a natural, fibrous structure and taste.  Unlike larger granule sized starches such as potato starch and carrageenan, this even dispersal ensures that no gel pockets or ‘tiger stripes’ are visible in the end product. 

Due to the exceptional water binding properties of rice starch, the addition of Remyline AX-DR to meat applications also ensures that the end product has improved juiciness and improved tenderness, compared to products using alternative starches.  Also, being pure white, rice starch ensures that poultry in particular has a clean look, with no pinking.

Impressive yields also in phosphate-free products

Sampling tests by the BENEO-Technology Center using Remyline AX-DR rice starch show that rice starch improves yields in both phosphate and phosphate-free products. The tests of phosphate-free products were carried out on rice and potato starches. The results demonstrated that using rice starch delivered a resultant yield that was 7 percentage points higher than the control sample and up to 2 percentage points greater than the sample containing potato starch.

Total yield in phosphates-free systems:

Caption: In phosphate-free systems using rice starch can increase the total yield up to 7 percentage points.

(NB: The above results show measurements relating to meat that has had brine added to it, so that it reaches 115% of its initial raw meat weight, the control containing only salt).

Tests were also done on phosphate products. Here rice starch delivered improved yields of 18 percentage points on the control sample.  This was compared to 8 percentage points on the one containing potato starch and 4 percentage points on the poultry containing carrageenan.

Total yield of poultry at 80°C and 68°C:

Caption: Rice starch can increase the yield in systems that contain phosphate by up to 18 percentage points

(NB: The above results show measurements relating to meat that has had brine added to it, so that it reaches 125% of its initial raw meat weight, the control contained only salt and phosphates, extending it to 115% of its initial raw weight.)

Due to its low gelatinization temperature (60°C) Remyline AX-DR rice starch is excellent at binding water, minimizing losses during the cooking process.         

Easy to use

Using BENEO’s Remyline AX-DR does not require any adaption in the production process. Injection pressure, as well as other relevant parameters, remain the same. The rice starch is either dispersed into the brine or it can be added, as a powder, into the tumbler.  Unlike other stabilizers, rice starch does not increase the viscosity of the brine.  In addition, due to the small granular size of rice starch, injector filters and needles are free from the risk of clogging due to lumps and the brine is stable with very low sedimentation.

Long lasting benefits

Due to the structure of amylopectin and its ratio to amylose in rice starch, the use of BENEO Remyline AX-DR in meat applications, such as poultry, ensures that there is very low retrogradation; enabling water retention to be maintained after the poultry has been packed.  This not only means that there is no unsightly water release (syneresis) in the packaging for consumers, compared to products containing potato starch or carrageenan, but that the product remains moister for the duration of its shelf life.  During tests, the BENEO-Technology Center was able to demonstrate the technical benefit of using Remyline AX-DR to reduce syneresis:


Caption: In comparison to potato starch or carrageenan the use of rice starch can reduce package purge up to 2.5 percentage points.    

Consumers today know what they want: tasty, appealing, natural, and affordable chicken products.  Meeting their expectations, as well as improving yield in an economical way is a tall order, but is now possible with functional rice starches such BENEO’s Remyline AX-DR.  Thanks to the research of the BENEO-Technology Center, poultry product manufacturers can now see the benefits of rice starch in delivering products with cleaner labels, improved taste and texture profiles as well as increased yields, economically, on existing processing equipment.


BENEO offers functional ingredients derived from chicory roots, beet sugar, rice and wheat. BENEO is the ideal partner to help improve a product in its nutritional and technological characteristics. Key nutritional benefits are ‘less fat’, ‘less sugar’, ‘less calories’, ‘added fibre’, ‘gluten-free’ and dairy alternatives as well as energy management, digestive, bone and dental health. Key technological benefits focus on taste and texture improvements. Through a unique chain of expertise, including the BENEO-Institute that provides decisive insights into nutrition science and legislation, and the BENEO-Technology Center that consults in application technology, BENEO actively supports customers in the development of more balanced and healthy food products.

[i] Source:  Chris Dickinson from the National Farmers Union at The Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board Outlook Conference in London, February 2015.

[ii] Source: Mintel GNPD, Poultry Products, Europe-ASPAC-NAM, Jan 2012 – Dec 2014

[iii] Source: Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, 24th February 2015, ‘Riding the Waves’,

[iv] Source: Mintel GNPD, Poultry Products, Europe-ASPAC-NAM, Jan 2012 – Dec 2014