Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavors
Excalibur Seasoning: Part 7 - R&D, Custom Blends, New Flavors
Learn about Excalibur Seasoning and why you should trust them to blend your seasonings. In part 7, you'll get answers to frequently asked questions about Excalibur Seasoning's "Excalibur Innovation Center", plus FAQ about Custom Blended Seasonings and New Flavor Profiles. Watch the video, read the highlights here, and then post your comments or questions below.
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.
I believe the recommended curing time is 12 hours but can I go less than that? I was expecting my order to be here tonight and it won’t be here till tomorrow morning now.
I was going to mix up my batch of jerky tonight but will have to do it tomorrow on my lunch break. Just wondering if tomorrow evening would be long enough to let the meat cure.
Your recipe calls for 1. Sure Cure, 2. Sure Gel Meat Binder, and 3. Smoked Meat Stabilizer. I have all but the Sure Gel Meat Binder. Can I get by without using this? Second question- Is Excalibur’s Cure Excellerator the same as Sure Cure?
@andyman Great question, Carrot Fiber holds up to 26 times its weight in water, and while the 80 oz is still well inside that I have never done that before. I max out (even with Carrot Fiber) at 64 oz which is 2 qts. My only fear with doing 80 is that it might take a lot longer to cook as it will have more water content that will be trying to evaporate. Most of that water should be bound up in the carrot fiber though so it wouldn’t really be available to be cooked out. Hmmm, my recommendation, to be safe is to stick with 64 oz of water.
Now, as to should you add more seasoning, some people will taste the difference if you did not add additional seasonings and some (most) will not. Your water and your seasoning is technically part of your meat block (anyone who is reading this who doesn’t consider this don’t worry!) so adjusting your meat block to include your water is sometimes done. If you do decide to add more spices or seasonings I would add aromatics and things like Rosemary and Basil, don’t add more salt as that is formulated specifically for the meat block.
Hope this helps and if you do decide to go with 80 oz of water then I would be very interested in the results!
i use denuded round. higher cost, less waste, cleaner eating
@jonathon I enjoyed this line of questions and comments, it made me think. Here is my related question: Assume I use 25 lbs. of meat to make summer sausage and add one package, 4 oz., of Carrot Fiber and 80 oz. of water. The ratio is 20 times the weight of water to the weight of CF. In other words, I am adding 5 lbs. 4 oz. of water/CF paste to my meat dough. Should I adjust the amount of salt and spices, I add to the dough? I am concerned that the flavor will be weaker if I don’t add spices for the new total, 30 lbs. curious as to what y’all thinking.