Getting Started: Sunsweet Ingredients in Meat and Poultry Applications

Teriyaki Steak  made richer with less sodium with prunes
Sunsweet in meat applications allows for flavorful teriyaki steak with less sodium.

Using Sunsweet Ingredients in meat applications offers many benefits. Derived from prune plums and packed with sorbitol, antioxidants, and malic acid, Sunsweet Ingredients not only aid in moisture retention but also promote browning and enhance the flavor and texture of meat and poultry. 

An Alternative to Phosphates

In studies, Sunsweet Ingredients have been proven to work in place of phosphates and other alternatives to bind moisture in meat and poultry, improving both texture and yield. Part of the reason is sorbitol: approximately 50% of the weight of a prune is sugar, yet unlike most dried fruit, much of that sugar is sorbitol, which acts as a humectant and helps to hold onto moisture in meat.

Sunsweet Ingredients also are high in antioxidants, which helps prevent the formation of off-flavors and lengthen the display life of raw protein. Meanwhile, cooked protein achieves an attractive caramelized exterior in place of artificial caramel coloring. Over the years, the University of Arkansas has studied the functionality of prune ingredients in meat and poultry in various ways.

Culinary Advantages

Additionally, the ingredients offer a number of culinary advantages. With a subtle caramel flavor and bright, rounded acidity, Sunsweet Ingredients enhance the flavors of the foods, allowing for better-tasting results, often with less sodium, sugar, and spices. 

The following is a breakdown on how to use Sunsweet Ingredients to improve moisture and texture in whole muscle, sausages, and ground meat applications For more information, download our meat and poultry manual.

Whole Muscle

The key ingredient for whole-muscle marinades is Fresh Plum Concentrate, which dissolves easily into water. It can be added directly to a vacuum tumbler or injected.

Master Formula for Whole-Muscle Meat or Poultry

Benchtop Method:
Inject and/or vacuum tumble the protein for 20 to 30 minutes at -27 and 8 rpm with the marinade. Let rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours before cooking. Mark the meat on a char grill for 2 minutes. Finish in a 375°F oven until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Primary equipment used: Vacuum tumbler and a 720 needle (or you can pass the meat through a meat tenderizer)


Dried Plum Puree aids in moisture binding and emulsification when used at 1.5% to the weight of the meat block. A higher percentage of the puree (up to 3%) may be preferred for leaner sausages, but only if they are not intended to be light in color. For light-colored sausages, use a combination of Fresh Plum Concentrate and Dried Plum Powder, starting with 1% Fresh Plum Concentrate and .75% powder.

Master Formula for Basic Sausage

  • Raw Protein (27% fat) 10 pounds
  • Dried Plum Puree 1.5-2%
  • Ice Water 5%
  • Salt 1%
  • Seasonings (vinegar and/or rosemary extract) 2%

Benchtop Method: Add protein to seasoning tumbler and mix with salt and seasoning and grind. Add the Dried Plum Puree and ice water and blend. Fill casings. Cook according to equipment specifications.

Mater Formula for Basic Sausage, Lighter Color

Benchtop Method:
Add protein to seasoning tumbler and mix with salt and seasoning and grind. Add the Fresh Plum Concentrate and ice water and blend. Fill casings. Cook according to equipment specifications.

Burgers and Ground Meat Preparations

Our ingredients keep burgers and meatballs juicy while lowering the incidence of warmed-over flavor. Meanwhile, our ingredients also enhance browning, replacing artificial caramel color.

For more articles on meat and poultry, see: