EXPLAIN: Exploring plant-based meat analogues for their Impact on health

Plant based meat analogues are a new food category with many unanswered questions. Do they fit in a healthy diet when they will be consumed more frequently?

Plant-based meat analogues have seen a rise in popularity in recent years as consumers are rethinking their health, wellbeing, and effects on sustainability. Many consumers are choosing plant-based meat analogues, but there is a need to better understand the product’s health impact.

In the development of plant-based meat analogues the main focus thus far has been on creating products that tastes great with similar texture to animal meat. To achieve a protein content similar to meat, fractionation of plant materials is necessary. However, this impacts sustainability and might influence potential health assets of the product, as fractionation requires water, energy, and chemicals, and it also leads to protein loss and inclusion of salt. In addition, many beneficial plant components like fibres, phenolic compounds, and other bioactive phytochemicals are less present.

Meat analogues are a growing novel food category, thus, understanding their impact on human health becomes more important. The goal of this project is therefore to investigate the health effects of frequent consumption of current meat analogues compared to animal meat, and to optimize formulation and process conditions to support the development of healthier plant-based meat analogues.

This project will be the first of its kind to thoroughly assess the effect of plant-based meat analogues on health. We will bring together expertise on gut microbiology, food technology and nutrition & health by using human and in-vitro studies.

This project will deliver:

  • Knowledge about the health benefits of plant-based meat analogues compared to animal meat.
  • Health driven design rules for novel plant-based ingredients and products.
  • Solutions on how to produce plant-based meat analogues in terms of health benefits.