Flexitarianism spurs the rise of meat-plant blends11 Apr 2020
Plant-based eating is a major trend, but while consumers may want to increase plant consumption, most are not willing to shun meat entirely. Now, a growing number of manufacturers is introducing products that combine the best of both.
According to Swiss investment firm UBS, the global value of plant-based meat alternatives grew to $4.5 billion by 2018, and it expects this to rise to $85 billion by 2030 – but in Europe and North America, plant-based foods are not yet replacing a large amount of meat. Nevertheless, numerous surveys suggest consumers want to cut back, and are trying to include more plant-based foods in their diets, such as grains, legumes and vegetables.
Hormel Foods’ Applegate brand is the latest to enter the market with a range of blended burgers, which could appeal to this dichotomy. Its new products are based on a mix of either organic beef with cauliflower, spinach, lentils and butternut squash, or organic turkey with sweet potato, great northern beans, kale and roasted onion. Later this year, it intends to launch two varieties of blended meatballs, with pork or turkey and vegetables mixed with rice or lentils respectively.
The blended products follow on from other launches, such as Debbie and Andrew’s Flexilicious brand in the UK, which makes a variety of beef sausages with 40% beef, blended with vegetables and legumes, and in the US, Raised and Rooted blended burgers from Tyson Foods and Perdue’s blended chicken and vegetable nuggets, tenders and patties.
But while the blended sector is doing something new in its overt marketing of such products, the concept of blending meat and vegetarian ingredients has been around for years.
So-called meat extenders traditionally have been used to cut the costs associated with meat ingredients, but this is no longer manufacturers’ only concern. Soy-based binders and fillers were formerly among the most common vegetarian ingredients for blended products – and especially low-fat commercial meat products – but nutritional quality and taste now are coming to the fore, with manufacturers turning to other pulses and lower protein ingredients like cereal grains and vegetables, as well as cheeses for flavour.
Nutrition is a major driver. Pea specialist Roquette, for instance, is tapping into the trend with pea fibre that can be injected into whole muscle meat to create a tenderer, juicier steak, or used in minced meat or emulsified products. Along with a range of ingredients like lupine, fava beans, wheat and rice, peas and other pulses and grains are able to cut the saturated fat content of meat while also making it more succulent.
Scelta Mushrooms provides another option with mushroom ingredients intended for use in traditional burger patties to add juiciness, and to improve nutritional profile and flavour while cutting costs.
At the moment, the blended meat concept is most well-established in the United States, but it is taking off in Europe as well. As more consumers look for ways to enjoy more plant-based foods without necessarily giving up meat, the space also avoids the technical challenges of using plant ingredients exclusively to mimic the taste and texture of meat, offering consumers a tasty – and potentially healthier and more environmentally friendly – alternative to traditional meat.
UN lauds ‘significant’ COP26 progress for agri-food sector but did it go far enough?
19 Nov 2021
UN Climate Change says ‘significant progress’ in making the farming sector more climate-resistant and climate-respectful was made at COP26 – but critics have slammed the absence of technologies such as cell-cultured meat from the sustainability agenda.Read more
Natural ingredients for a true-blue hue
21 Oct 2021
Blue-coloured food and drink are trending in China but so is a demand for natural, clean label products. So, what natural ingredient options do manufacturers have?Read more
Tracking oat milk’s stellar US success
18 Oct 2021
Although almond is still the number one plant-based milk in the US, oat milk is hot on its heels thanks to ingredient innovation, high profile brand launches, and a diverse category that includes both affordable and premium-positioned products.Read more
Targeting the sustainable consumer in Latin America
8 Oct 2021
Latin Americans are among the most concerned about climate change and the most interested in sustainable actions but they are also highly price sensitive, according to Euromonitor. How can brands strike the right balance?Read more
Researchers find traditional rice varieties with strong ‘anti-cancer’ properties
4 Oct 2021
Filipino-led researchers have discovered rare, traditional rice varieties that exhibit ‘anti-cancer’ properties with the genetic traits for more catechins and flavonoids - paving the way for healthier rice, they say.Read more
Can some sugars actually be healthy? FDA asks, industry responds
27 Sep 2021
In 2019, the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) allowed allulose to be exempt from the added and total sugar labelling requirement thanks to the way it is metabolised in the body. Could other non-traditional sugars be eligible for such an exemption?Read more
How Korean food conquered Asia
20 Sep 2021
Fuelled by the popularity of Korean pop music and television shows, Korean food is on-trend among Asian consumers, spurring new product development and e-commerce platforms specialised in ‘K-Food’.Read more
‘Exciting, flavourful and adventurous’: Latin American flavours are on-trend in the US
20 Aug 2021
Seen as exciting, flavourful and adventurous, Latino flavours are popular in the US, according to Mintel research. Does this open up export opportunities for healthy Latin American food brands?Read more
EU approves stevia produced via enzymatic conversion
16 Aug 2021
The European Commission has approved use of the enzymatically converted stevia molecule, Reb M, for use in the EU.Read more
Punk health: Why young Chinese are fuelling health supplement sales
9 Aug 2021
Around the world, the health supplement market’s biggest consumers tend to be older people. In China, however, it is the younger generation of ‘punk health’ aficionados who are fuelling supplement sales.Read more
Are you a supplier?
Here's what we can do for you
- Generate quality leads for your business
- Stay visible for 365 days of the year
- Receive product inquiries and respond to meeting requests directly
- Improve company online presence through Search Engine Optimisation