What´s in a sausage? If you´ve been trying to avoid this answer during all your life, it´s time to face reality.
Sausage is a traditional way to preserve meat, and a great option for using up every part of the animal. The real problem with sausages isn’t the meat scraps. It’s all the other stuff that gets put in there alongside the meat itself.
The basic idea of sausage is simple: meat, fat, salt, and spices. Considerable quantities of starches and flours are used as binders in sausages and prepared meats. They serve to retain moisture throughout processing and storage of the product, and also may stabilize the emulsion of moisture, fat, and protein. Optionally, they may have a sweetener (e.g. glucose), other animal ingredients (e.g. blood), and/or fruit.
There are a variety of intriguing additives on ingredients lists that add flavour and colour while keeping costs down for manufacturers. These included sugar, spray-dried wine, HVP preservative, yeast extract, natural roast beef flavour and smoke flavour. Most mass-produced or butcher-made sausages use preservatives to inhibit bacteria growth and delay the grey-brown oxidisation of meat.
Regarding sugar, it is used in large quantities in meat curing, though its role in meat processing is not completely understood. Sugar is not present in most cured products in sufficient amounts to impart a sweet taste, but it may serve to soften the brashness of the salt. Sugars play an important role in the curing by maintaining acid and reducing conditions favorable to good color development and retention.
Now you might wonder; "How much sugar are we talking about?”. In the following chart you´ll find the amount of sugar per 100 grams in different sausages of the Nordic market (one regular sausage weights between 60 and 100 grams).