Collagen is a very common, naturally occurring long fibrous protein with remarkable properties. It has been used for many years as the primary raw material for various applications. These include uses in the biomedical and cosmetic fields as well as various uses in the food industry. It is also the base material for the gelatine industry.
In particular, collagen is the key component in the manufacture of sausage casings and food film. When used to make casing or film it is usually, but not exclusively, obtained from animal skins and mainly bovine (beef) origin though other animals can also be used pigs, sheep, poultry, fish.
Historically, sausages were made by stuffing a meat mix into the intestines of a pig, sheep or other animals by local butchers. However, with the development of modern meat processing there was a demand for greater control over texture, diameter and length to aid efficient high-quality production. This increasing sausage demand coupled with the improved control and need for consistent good eating qualities, has led to the growth of collagen as producers requiring improved efficiency and quality have switched to collagen.
Casings are supplied in compact boxes of 20->100 “shirred” sticks, each of which contains up to 60m or more casing in a stick less than half a metre in length. Individual collagen casing sticks are made in different diameters ranging from 13mm up to sizes in excess of 40mm. Larger sizes for salami type products go up to 110mm in diameter. Collagen casings can also be supplied in a wide range of colours and finishes to satisfy consumers’ expectations and processors’ needs.
Benefits of Collagen Casing
When using collagen casings, safety from a human or animal disease perspective are negligible as the production process uses techniques that sanitise the casings removing any harmful organisms, enhancing your food safety assurance. The products do not need to be kept chilled or in preserving solutions making much more efficient storage and transport.
Edible collagen casings provide a superior yield based on ready-to-stuff materials, longer shirred lengths and high speed stuffing capabilities. Rework is minimised via consistent strand length and size control.
Ease of Use
Edible collagen casings are ready to use straight from the box and horn loading is quick and easy. Reliable, consistent supply and availability are realities.
Lower Production Costs
Edible collagen casings do not need to be stored in a “chilled” environment and they are easy to use with no possibility of product losses prior to stuffing. The processor can count on lower production costs with better productivity, production standardisation (at all levels), and less labour. The added benefit of longer shelf-life is also a key competitive advantage for sausages made in collagen casings.
Consistent Size Control
Customers can count on consistent diameter products and constant sausage length, making packaging quicker and easier, with reduced “give-away”.
Collagen casings have a pleasant, neutral scent and are ready to use straight from the package. There is no messy preparation time (soaking and untangling of bundles) required. Pricing and supply are much more stable making costs predictable – in addition to there being no seasonal variations. Sausages manufactured in collagen casing allow for all round cooking coverage which delivers a superior cooked appearance when compared to sausages in natural casings.