• From nuggets to patties, the frozen chicken products produced by Cargill’s customer are a go-to for families—but the brand needed to cut operational costs.
  • By developing an innovative, soy-based stabilizer, Cargill helps the company streamline operations without affecting their signature flavor and texture.
  • In one year’s time, the food manufacturer cuts costs by US $0.10 per pound, amounting to millions of dollars in savings.

New, cost-saving ingredients for a familiar favorite

To streamline production, reduce costs and preserve the great taste of its popular products, a customer looks to Cargill.

In 2010, one of Cargill’s long-standing food customers took a hard look at its portfolio of more than 40 well-known household brands, seeking ways to improve its production processes. For this customer, success meant increasing production efficiencies to generate greater yields while reducing costs. It also meant maintaining the products’ signature taste that consumers love.

The company saw great opportunity for success in its brand of frozen chicken products, a mealtime favorite for families around the United States. Because the brand was so popular, it posed a unique challenge: making production modifications without changing the traits people enjoy most, like taste, texture and color. Known for its crispy coating and moist, tender meat, the customer needed help maintaining the brand’s key attributes, and soon turned to Cargill for its expertise in food innovation.

For four months, a Cargill research and development team worked with the customer to develop an updated recipe. Cargill determined that a food stabilizer could increase yields naturally, without negatively affecting the final product. The team tested the modified formula with panels of taste testers, refining the recipe based on consumer feedback. After testing four iterations, the team created one that surpassed the customer’s requirements, met consumer expectations and quickly won approvals.

The modified blend of natural and starch-based ingredients not only tasted great, it preserved the food’s structure during freezing and shipment. Chicken products made with the new recipe hit store shelves in the spring of 2010 and reduced the customer’s production costs by US $0.10 per pound, generating more than US $5 million in savings during the first year. Best of all, it delivered on the signature taste, texture and flavor that consumers expect and enjoy.