Calculating the Weight-Loss Percentage of Dehydrated Food Products
When a food manufacturer needs to create a nutrition facts panel for their product, their recipe ingredients and units of measure are the key items that are used to provide the appropriate nutrition report. And unless these items are sold in their raw form, there is a weight loss that occurs during the cooking process. This is important to note because the changes in weight affect the amount of nutrition that is reported to the consumer via their nutrition facts panel. It’s a fairly simple process to prepare and process the item and then report the nutrient differences. But what happens when you’re working with products that are dehydrated? Dehydrated products like jerky and dried fruits reduce in size and weight but retain their nutrient make-up. Are you considering bringing a dehydrated product to market and need a panel? Or just curious how the process works? Keep reading to learn how we go about calculating the weight-loss percentage of dehydrated food products without a lab. You might be pleased to know that it’s easier than you think.
Steps to Calculating Product Weight-Loss
Step 1: Record Your Raw/Wet Ingredients
The very first step in calculating the weight-loss percentage of dehydrated food products, is to log the appropriate measurements for your “wet ingredients”. Wet ingredients simply refers to ingredients in their raw form before cooking. You can remember this by the preparation process. When you begin to marinate meat or whip flour with eggs and butter, the ingredients become “wet” in texture. So as a rule of thumb, wet ingredients are the original ingredients recorded in their raw state.
Process your ingredients before weighing. If you are working with bone-in/skin on chicken-breast but the bones and skin are not included in your final recipe, do not include them in the next step. Needless to say, the same goes for other non-consumable items like eggshells, fat trimmed off of meat before preparation, and other things that do not contribute to the ACTUAL nutrient value of the final product.
Step 2: Weigh Your Ingredients
You can begin calculating the future weight loss of your food product by simply recording the weight of these raw or wet ingredients once they have been combined. Once weighed, record this number to calculate against the future cooked weight. You can weigh your combined ingredients by using a home or commercial kitchen scale (depending on the size/volume of your product). In the case of dehydrated products, the weight loss percentage depends on 2 parts: the protein and the marinade.
The first part of weighing your ingredients is accounting for the marinade absorption percentage. Record the weight of your marinade prior to immersing the meat/protein product. Record this weight and reserve for later.
Prior to weighing your wet ingredients, be sure to weigh the receptacle you are using to hold your ingredients. If you are using a tray, weigh the empty tray. Then once your ingredients have been added to the tray and weighed, subtract the weight of the empty tray from your wet ingredient weight. Otherwise your tray will be calculated into your wet ingredient weight and will throw off your nutrition values/weight loss percentage — and we don’t want that!
Step 3: Weigh Your Ingredients Again
Once your soon-to-be dehydrated food product has completed the marinating process, remove the protein from the marinade or brine and then weigh the marinade/brine again. Reserve this new number for the final calculation regarding the absorption percentage of your marinade or brine into the actual protein before the smoking/dehydration process begins.
Step 4: Collect Final Weight
As previously mentioned, creating dehydrated meat products that are seasoned and marinated, the weight-loss we are looking to record occurs in 2 places: the meat itself and the liquid used to marinate the meat. Now that you’ve recorded the weight of the marinade/brine before and after the marinating process, you have the values that will give you the total weight loss percentage of your marinade.
Lastly, once dehydrated, you will weigh the final meat product. These 2 weights will provide the appropriate nutrient values for your final product given the substantial weight loss that occurs within your dehydrated food product.
And that’s really all there is to it. The final weight measurements will be calculated against the original and the nutrition of the protein will remain in-tact to reflect the appropriate nutrient values. So if you were wondering what calculating the weight-loss percentage of dehydrated food products looked like, now you know!
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