Sauces that have the right flavor, quality consistency, and excellent adherence to chicken wings was the specific goal of a Co-Development project together with a customer within the foodservice industry.
Inspired by the popularity of the dish created in Buffalo in the United States in the mid-60s, a company in Mexico adopted chicken wings in 1995 as the ideal appetizer to accompany any sporting event, meeting, or dinner at home with family and friends. Chicken wings became a culinary success and is now a highly popular dish in Mexico.
One of the key factors to this success has been the variety of sauces available for the wings to be dipped in. The sauces come in a wide range of flavors that the consumer expects, from sweet and bittersweet to spicy and very spicy flavors – a choice of preference for Mexican consumers. However, finding the right flavor profile is not an easy task, nor producing a sauce that sticks to the chicken wings. To find the perfect sauce, one of the main restaurant chains in Mexico worked with AAK in a Co-Development project to enhance its product and improve consumer satisfaction.
Understanding the complex need
A true understanding of a customer’s needs is fundamental to the successful outcome of a Co-Development project. From AAK’s end, the project started with a thorough understanding of the customer’s value chain. This important step included not only understanding the customer’s development and production processes but also becoming familiar with the market by visiting several of the customer’s restaurants. From this experience, we generated valuable insights that generated ideas for a solution.
The thorough and highly valuable Co-Development process allowed us to discover and understand the importance of all the ingredients in the sauces, such as the specific characteristics or contributions to the recipes, in ways previously unknown to us.
The defiant consistency of the sauce
One of the main challenges we faced was the consistency of the sauce and to which level it should stick to the chicken wings. We needed a fluid product that could very well integrate other ingredients, avoiding destabilizing the emulsion of the sauce, and as consequence, the texture in the final product.
The standardization became our next big challenge; even when the formula was ready and could be replicated, the crystallization conditions needed to be strictly controlled, since the viscosity of our proposed solution was critical to its adequate performance.
Stability despite ingredients with low affinity to fat
After a thorough Co-Development process, we proposed butter-flavored oil – a specialized solution that allows the ideal integration of all ingredients, even when most of them are low affined to fats. For this reason, the solution has proven to work very well with challenging ingredients such as vinegar, salt, water, spices, and chili powder, amongst others.
Today, our customer is using butter-flavored oil in three different sauces, all with perfect adherence to lusciously browned wings. A very good co-development performance with excellent communication, trust, and true teamwork resulted in an improved final product that helps our customer’s sauces show quality consistency, excellent adherence to the chicken wings, and standardization.