Project

Improving the sensory quality of meat analogues

To facilitate the protein transition towards plant-based proteins, this projects aims to improve the sensory characteristics, with a focus on juiciness and flavour, of meat analogues during consumption.

A shift towards a more plant-based diet can be beneficial for both planet (environment, sustainability) and people (health). High quality meat analogues will contribute to enticing traditional meat-eaters toward more sustainable, plant-based options, and thus contribute to achieving the protein transition.

Quality gap

Recent years have seen many new plant-based meat analogues based on emerging technologies. Although some of these are well on the way of becoming serious competitors to their animal-protein-based counterparts, a quality gap remains to achieve full consumer acceptance. There is a lack of understanding of the links between food structure, (oral) structure breakdown, aroma release, and sensory perception of meat analogues. Flavour and texture are not similar to fibrous and juicy meats, and the lack of ‘juiciness’ potentially limits consumer acceptance and contributes to low flavour perception.

Aim

This project aims to develop understanding of mechanisms driving flavour and texture perception, and apply these to improve the sensory quality of meat analogues. The project determines the relationships between structure and physico-chemical properties of meat analogues, oral breakdown and sensory perception.

Deliverables

With a focus on oral processing and flavour release, the following deliverables are foreseen:

  • Overview of mechanisms driving flavour and texture perception of meat analogue models based on relationships between product structure & composition, oral processing and sensory perception.
  • Guidelines for structuring and flavouring meat analogues, and improving the quality of protein ingredients and flavour blocks, to improve sensory quality and consumer acceptance that can be applied by the food industry throughout the food supply chain.
  • Proofs-of-principle and comparison of meat analogue products with meat products, to give guidelines how to improve sensory quality upon processing.

Partners

The industrial partners in this project are:

  • Symrise
  • Nissin
  • Starfield
  • AAK

There is still room for an additional industrial partner. Please contact Stacy Pyett (stacy.pyett @wur.nl)  when you would like more information on this opportunity.