Offering attractive and tasty alternative plant-based meat analogues to the consumer could stimulate the transition from animal to plant proteins. For a sustainable supply of healthy food for the growing population, a transition is needed from animal proteins towards sustainably produced, often plant-derived, proteins. Alternatives of sustainably produced proteins for consideration to be included into the human diet are urgently needed. The current meat analogues are mainly based on soy protein and gluten and, to a limited extent, on other sources like lupine or pea. These protein sources are fractionated towards standardised protein rich powders, often mixed with other ingredients, and processed towards meat analogues. The fractionation processes use a considerable amount of energy, and result in by-products that are often difficult to include in products for human consumption. If we can tune the processing of ingredients towards specific applications for meat analogues, for which milder conditions may be needed than for the production of the standardized protein powders, more of the raw material may be applicable and more sustainable production routes for meat analogues can be developed. Furthermore, a wider range of protein sources can be used.
Plant-based meat analogues using extrusion
PlantPROMISE focusses on extrusion as a structuring process. Extrusion is an established and highly versatile technique for the production of food. It enables a continuous and cost-effective means of production and is currently applied for the production of meat analogues, mainly based on soy. A major obstacle for consumer acceptance of current available (extruded) meat analogues are the texture, flavour and juiciness compared to real meat products. Limitations of extrusion for meat analogues are the lack of understanding of the relevant physical and chemical processes in the extruder and the cooling die, and the relationship between processing and the resulting texture and juiciness. The poor understanding is also limiting the use of alternative protein sources other than highly refined protein isolates. The current empirical knowledge is very difficult to translate to alternative protein sources.
Alternatives for meat, made from sustainably produced proteins, for the human diet are urgently needed. This project focus is to develop novel, high quality products but also to create standards for quality and to optimise production, and, in particular, to develop meat-alternatives which have an optimal digestibility and bioactivity as determined by their peptides.
The PlantPROMISE project aims to develop a new generation of novel, high quality extruded meat analogues using the improved understanding of physico-chemical processing in the extruder, combined with a better understanding of product attributes like texture, flavour, juiciness, digestibility and sustainability, that are acceptable to the consumer. The project focusses on pre-competitive technology and know-how in a cross value-chain collaboration to translate fundamental insights to application understanding.
The project is co-financed by the Top Consortium for Knowledge and Innovation ‘Agri & Food’ by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. The project is registered under contract number LWV-19027.
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Critical factors in appreciation and acceptance of meat analogues
Mapping the texture of plant protein blends for meat analoguesFood Hydrocolloids 118 (2021). - ISSN 0268-005X - 10 p.
PlantPROMISE : Public Private Partnership. Plant PROtein Meat alternatIveS using Extrusion: Wageningen University & Research - p.
Small and large oscillatory shear properties of concentrated proteinsFood Hydrocolloids 110 (2021). - ISSN 0268-005X
Texture methods for evaluating meat and meat analogue structures : A reviewFood Control 127 (2021). - ISSN 0956-7135
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Water redistribution determined by Time Domain NMR explains rheological properties of dense fibrous protein blends at high temperature
Water redistribution determined by time domain NMR explains rheological properties of dense fibrous protein blends at high temperatureFood Hydrocolloids 101 (2020). - ISSN 0268-005X