The mainstreaming of meat alternatives26 Oct 2018
Tofu and lentils still have their place in a vegetarian diet, but a new generation of meat alternatives makes it easier than ever for consumers to switch to plant-based options – even the most enthusiastic meat eaters.
Meat alternatives have come a long way in recent years, as companies have developed new technologies and ingredients intended to mimic the taste, texture, aroma and colour of meat products. Extrusion technology in particular allows for plant protein products with the texture and shear of meats like pulled pork or chicken, and the use of plant-derived heme iron and beetroot juice can even simulate the juices that ooze from a beef burger.
A few high-profile companies, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have dominated headlines for their trailblazing products, but behind the scenes, there is a groundswell of companies investing in the ingredients and technologies that could bring vegetarian meat analogues to the masses. The strides taken by pioneering meat substitute companies have helped spur this movement, but as investment in in plant-based proteins becomes more widespread, costs are likely to come down and meat substitutes look set to become an everyday dietary choice for a rising number of flexitarian consumers.
Roquette, for example, recently acquired a Dutch facility specialised in the extrusion of plant proteins, which helps produce a meat-like texture for plant protein ingredients. The company says the acquisition will help secure the availability of its textured pea protein ingredients in the long term, and increase its innovation capabilities in the global meat alternatives market. This could help make pea protein a viable alternative for makers of extruded plant protein products, which are often based on soy or wheat.
Meanwhile, the Finnish dairy company Valio has highlighted dairy as another alternative protein source. It has introduced a lactose-free meat substitute called MiFU made from dairy proteins, which is intended to have the texture and mouthfeel of chicken. The company plays up the nutritional value of dairy protein compared to other vegetarian meat substitutes, and its lack of common allergens, such as wheat and soy (as well as lactose).
According to figures from the EU project TRUE, sales of meat substitutes grew by 451% in Europe in the four years from 2013 to 2017, and the effect of this growth has been felt in raw materials too. As the meat alternatives market has gained momentum, demand for pulses has skyrocketed. More than 27,000 new pulse and legume products were launched worldwide from 2013 to 2017, and European agriculture is adapting to keep up. Eurostat figures show the area used to cultivate pulses in the EU increased by about 65% from 2013 to 2015.
Consumers have become increasingly interested in meat alternatives as companies continue to refine their texture and flavour, making them more convincingly meat-like – and the entire supply chain is taking notice.
Stevia outpaces aspartame in new product launches
27 Nov 2018
The number of new stevia-sweetened foods and drinks overtook new products with aspartame in 2017, according to global data from Innova Market Insights.Read more
Nuts gain from awareness of healthy fats
19 Nov 2018
Demand for products containing nuts is on the rise, aided by ongoing research into their health benefits and growing consumer understanding of healthy fats.Read more
Cranberries show promise for improved gut health
19 Nov 2018
Researchers are just beginning to understand the link between the gut and many chronic health conditions, leading to growing interest in prebiotic ingredients. According to a new study, cranberries are the latest food to show prebiotic potential.Read more
Egg substitutes driven by vegan, allergen-free demand
13 Nov 2018
Egg replacers have long been used as a way to avoid to the price fluctuations often associated with real eggs, but recently interest has been driven by manufacturer demand for clean label and plant-based ingredients, allowing companies to make more veg...Read more
Whey protein on the rise across food categories
13 Nov 2018
Whey protein remains the most popular protein ingredient for athletes by far, but numerous whey protein ingredients have emerged over the past few years, in applications that take it well beyond sports nutrition.Read more
Could regulation tempt the industry to renew focus on low fat foods?
7 Nov 2018
The UK government aims to cut calories by 20% by 2024 in a range of popular foods, potentially shifting focus back onto foods’ fat content as companies strive to reach this target.Read more
Allergen-free foods gain momentum
5 Nov 2018
Launches of allergen-free foods have increased in recent years – and not just because of increased prevalence of food allergy.Read more
Enzyme technology slashes sugar in fruit juice
2 Nov 2018
Israeli researchers have developed a new technology to cut sugar by up to 80% in fruit juice, by using enzymes that boost the fibre content at the same time.Read more
What can blockchain do for the food industry?
1 Nov 2018
International food companies have started to embrace blockchain technology to help trace food and ingredients all along the supply chain. What are the potential benefits for the industry?Read more
Industry innovation targets gelatine alternatives
26 Oct 2018
Many alternatives to animal-derived gelatine already exist, although none is a perfect replacement. Now, rising interest in vegetarian ingredients has led to a new wave of innovation in the sector.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