Meat Casings for Sausage Processing

Processing sausage? One of the most important factors of ensuring a successful product is using the appropriate meat casing. Casings are coverings that enclose ground meat in the process of making sausage product. Not all casings are created equal. There are several options to choose from depending on the type of product you are producing, equipment you are working with, cost preferences and more. See below to learn more about the different varieties of casings available, and the related products that Bunzl Processor Division is proud to offer. From natural to synthetic, edible to non-edible, flat or shirred, we have the casings to best serve your operational needs.

Natural Casings

As the name suggests, natural casings are made from a natural animal source. These casings are made from a layer of an animal’s intestine (often a cow, hog, lamb or sheep) consisting of naturally occurring collagen, known as the submucosa. This material is naturally tubular, due to the shape of the intestine, making it an ideal solution for sausage making applications. 

Natural casings provide the traditional appearance, texture and cooking performance that is expected of a sausage. They are tender to the bite, permeable enough to smoke, as well as flexible and easy to stuff. As an added bonus, these casings are safe for human consumption as they are made from a natural animal product. 

Because they are naturally occurring and not man-made, natural casings have the least uniformity of any casing option. They are not always consistent in weight or length, and have a decreased machinability, making them a less than ideal solution when working with some equipment. Natural casings are traditionally the most expensive casing option, and on average yield the least amount of product when compared to other solutions.

If you are looking to make cooked sausage, country style sausage, fresh pork sausage, pepperoni, Italian sausage, large Frankfurters, Kishka, Kielbasa or bratwurst, we recommend that you check out our popular Made-in-the-USA Natural Hog Casings.

Collagen Casings

Collagen casings can be either edible or non-edible, and are used to simulate natural casings. They are produced from the collagen in cow or pig hides, bones and tendons, and in rare cases can be derived from poultry or fish. As opposed to their natural counterparts, collagen casings provide more uniformity in weight and size, and are a more cost-effective solution. These casings are also durable enough to keep their form when machine handled. One of the main advantages of collagen casings is that they can be produced in a wide variety of sizes and forms, allowing the user to produce custom sizes of sausage product. 

Processor’s Choice Collagen Casings are a Bunzl Processor Division Exclusive Product, with several varieties made right here in the USA! These casings are sold in small quantities and sealed in Ziploc® Bags for freshness, allowing you to use what you need, then reseal the bag. Users can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they no longer have to worry about boxes of casings becoming stale or collecting dust while waiting for their next use. All Processor’s Choice bags are equipped with a convenient hang hole so casings can be hung for easy storage or retail sales. Several of these casings also comply with Halal specifications and requirements (documentation available upon request.)

Check out our Edible Collagen Casings and String-Tied Non-Edible Casings for other collagen casing options!

Fibrous Casings

Fibrous casings are made from a form of cellulose material, and peels away easily when cooked, as they are inedible. These casings adhere to the sausage surface, which is important in their ideal application of dry and semi-dry sausage. Fibrous casing have good machinability and uniformity, making them a great fit for high-speed operations. The durability of these casings also allows for tight stuffing. 

Check out our Fibrous, Non-Edible Sausage Casings with semi-custom and full-custom-printing options, or our Holiday Fibrous Casings to help dress up your product during the holiday season.

Plastic Casings

Plastic meat casings are commonly made from polymers including polypropylene, polyethylene, polyamide or a combination of these materials. These casings can be produced in a variety of sizes and colors to help enhance their eye appeal to customers. They are also moisture impermeable, making them an attractive option for a variety of applications. Plastic casings are for raw or cooked meat (think hamburger or pork sausage) and cannot be smoked, as the other casing types allow. 

Our new Shirred Meat Casings are a popular plastic casing solution, providing 132 feet of continuous material – perfect for automated applications. 

It’s evident that there are a variety of specific factors to consider when deciding on the right casing option for your product. If you need further assistance in narrowing down this solution, call us at 800-456-5624 or chat with us online, and our team of specialists will be happy to help!