Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavor
Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavor
This is Part 7 of a mini-series about Excalibur Seasoning, featuring John Brewer, the VP of Sales & Marketing. We asked John Brewer about Excalibur Seasoning, their R&D lab, and how custom blends and new flavor profiles are created. Be sure to subscribe to WaltonsTV YouTube channel and click the green Watch button on the Walton’s Blog section to be the first to know when new videos are released.
Excalibur Seasoning Mini-Series
There are still more videos to be released this week and a ton of great content about seasonings, and specifically Excalibur Seasoning. Make sure you don’t miss a single episode and subscribe to the WaltonsTV YouTube Channel and click the “Watch” button on the Walton’s Blog section of Meatgisitcs.com to be notified of all new videos, promotions, sales, and news from Walton’s.
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In this episode we talked with John Brewer, the VP of Sales & Marketing at Excalibur Seasoning, about Excalibur Seasoning, their R&D lab, and how custom blends and new flavor profiles are created.
Does Excalibur Seasoning have an R&D department?
They do have an R&D department, which is one thing very unique about them in the industry and what they offer with their R&D lab, plus the people and staff that they’ve assembled to run their “Excalibur Innovation Center”. According to John Brewer, Excalibur Seasoning has one of the best research chefs in the industry, Marlo Mastalerz, and what she is able to develop, the timeline, and turn around for products is incredible in both duplication and new product development.
Can Excalibur duplicate a seasoning blend from another seasoning company, and how does that work?
If a customer is currently buying from another seasoning company, Excalibur Seasoning can match and duplicate that product in the Excalibur Innovation Center. In many circumstances, they can also clean the label up, extend the shelf life and enhance the product’s appearance on the shelf.
How are new flavor profiles created?
New flavor profiles can be created solely by the Excalibur Innovation Center, or it could come from a saleman from Excalibur or Walton’s, or it may come from a customer as a new request for something new, different, or a similar rendition of something existing.
How much do you have to buy to be able to order custom blended seasoning?
For dry seasonings, Excalibur Seasoning has what might be some of the lowest minimums in the industry. Only 100 pounds are required for a custom blend. Many competitors have raised their minimums to 1,000 pounds or more, but Excalibur remains unique by offering a very small minimum of only 100 pounds. Those low minimums allow small and independent processors and others to be unique themselves in their own market place without having to adhere to minimums that are simply unattainable at the 1,000 pound level.
What about minimums for liquid sauce or marinade?
Excalibur also has extremely low minimums for liquids. At only 150 gallons, their minimum is pretty much unheard of in the industry. One of Excalibur Seasoning’s strong points is their ability to produce smaller volumes of seasonings and sauces that others in the industry simply cannot or do not offer.
What is needed to duplicate a seasoning blend and make a new custom blend?
It is extensive, but we make it as easy and painless for a customer as possible. Some of the steps and things needed are:
- Product development form questionaire and ingredient statement
- Formulation of seasoning, if possible
- Physical sample to to review aesthetics
- What is the application, what is it going on, and how much is typically used per batch?
- Does the customer want to exact and identical ingredient statement, or can Excalibur help clean up the label, and make sure the label is following marketplace guidelines.
- Excalibur will begin formulation, and prepare the product as the customer would to compare real-world performance of that seasoning
- Excalibur sends the new seasoning formulation back to the customer for approval, or for necessary tweaking, editing, and a second re-formulation.
Is there a cost for duplicating or matching a seasoning and making a custom blend?
For dry seasoning blends, there is no cost and it is done free of charge.
For liquids and sauces, it is a lot more complicated, so a $500 deposit is required before development. Then, that is refunded back to the customer after the product is approved and the customer has bought a specified amount once they are a customer. This helps cover some basic costs, but is not meant to be a profit center for Excalibur.
Why would a home processor, independent meat processor, large food processor, grocery store, restaurant, etc. trust Excalibur to blend their seasonings?
Consistency. Simply put, Excalibur is going to produce a high quality, safe product, with a high level of integrity and consistency that is hard to beat in any other method. Some customers are afraid of letting go of their proprietary blend that has been in their company or family for generations, but Excalibur has a high level of integrity and guarantees that the customer’s formula is not going to go anywhere or be shared with anyone else. Only that customer has access to their custom blend.
Why are Excalibur’s products so consistent?
Going back to Excalibur’s SQF Level 3 certification, they are going to produce a high quality and safe product, that is consistent and always documented. Batches and lots are always compared visually and by taste to the previous batch and lot. Every ingredient is tracked on the input and output, and they guarantee consistency, repeat-ability, and trace-ability.
Do minimums for custom blends also apply to private label seasonings?
Many private label seasoning are simply an existing Excalibur Seasoning blend. When that is the case, there is no minimum. If a private label seasoning is also a custom blend, then there still is the 100 pound minimum for dry blends or 150 gallon minimum for liquids and sauces.
In the past while making summer sausage I have used ground beef 80/20 about 8 pounds and about 4 pounds mixed together… what mixture do you use for summer sausage
@KSHusker First, yes they should be safe to eat. You cooked them to 160° which will kill anything harmful. Now, obviously use common sense and your senses, if it smells bad don’t eat it!
The first thing to know is if you used sure cure (or another version) or not? From the sounds of it, you did but I just want to make sure we are looking at all possibilities. Were the butts untrimmed? If they had a nice fat cap on them then you should have been okay, I still like to use a little more fat than that but you should have been in the realm. How did you mix it, was it by hand? If you mixed for 30 minutes in a meat mixer that is a long time to be mixing it (I don’t think this was your issue, just pointing it out). Starting at 200 is a little high but it also sounds like it came down to 180° pretty quickly but this would be my thought on why the casing stuck, cooking too high can cause this.
For the color, the only thing I can think of (if you used a cure) is that it looks pinker around the edges because you got a nice smoke ring around it? How deep does the nice pink color go and what type of casing did you use? With wild game, I always use some sort of cure accelerator, either Encapsulated Citric Acid, Smoked Meat Stabilizer or something, it helps burn the color more and then you can skip holding it overnight and go right from stuffing to the smokehouse.
Anyone else have thoughts?