Meat – Why is there potato in meatballs


Living in Sweden I do eat meatballs almost everyday. What I've noticed is that most ready-to-eat meatballs you can buy in the store contains potato, potato flakes and potato starch. I'd never even think of putting any potato at all in home made meatballs.

I've also seen this in raw hamburgers. Even the "luxury meatballs" contains almost 15% potato.

Why does most meatball manufacturers use potato?

Best Answer

With absolutely no citation or evidence to back up my claim ;-) I'm going to say that the reasoning is two- if not three-fold…. or maybe more...

  1. It's cheaper. It adds bulk.

  2. It helps the meatball stay whole; a binder. Similar reasoning as breadcrumbs &/or egg, but see 3.

  3. The binder is needed because the EU allows the meat producer to add 10% water to the meat before it's even completed the initial butchery stage[1]. Therefore you need some 'soak-up' to prevent the water being squeezed out as soon as you start to heat the product.

  4. It helps the texture; stops it becoming too chewy. A mouth-feel thing, same as you might make 50% beef/50% pork meatballs. 100% beef can be a bit heavy.

from comments

  1. There's no chance of gluten intolerance issues with potato.

…and a late

  1. It's very probably traditional. Burgers get breadcrumbs, meatballs get potato. Why or why not; because it's always been done that way, which sometimes defies all reason.

[1] I personally consider this a cardinal sin & were I ever to miraculously become 'President of Europe' this practise would become a capital offence ;)