• Demand for plant-based alternative products continues to rise, the most relevant target group isflexitarians
  • Meat-like texture: decisive for product success
  • VITATEX® is ideally suited for meat mimicking, the reproduction of bite and mouthfeel for a meat-liketaste experience
  • GoodMill’s innovation has many years of experience in the development of plant-based proteins, newtexture line VITATEX® offers a convincing solution regarding authenticity and texture
  • Simple processing process at the manufacturer: Existing machines can be used
  • VITATEX® range is suitable for a wide range of vegan and vegetarian applications that replaceconventional products based on pork, beef and poultry meat as well as fish with an authentic sensoryprofile

Demand for meat alternatives based on vegetable proteins has been rising steadily in recent years – andall signs point to continued growth. According to Allied Market Research, the European market for meatsubstitutes is expected to be worth $3,549.09 million by 2027 – up from $1,387 million in 2019. Thatrepresents a compound annual growth rate of 7.9 per cent.

While those who follow vegan andvegetarian diets continue to lookfor enjoyable plant-based foods, thebiggest driver of current marketgrowth is flexitarians – peoplewho want to reduce their meatconsumption for health, ethical orenvironmental reasons. A surveyconducted for the EU-funded SmartProtein Project and published inNovember 2021 found that 30 percent of Europeans now considerthemselves to be flexitarian.

The Smart Protein Project survey alsofound that 46 per cent of Europeanconsumers were eating less meatthan they did during the previous year.Almost 40 per cent said they intendedto eat fewer meat-based productsin the future, and a resounding 86per cent said yes in answer to thefollowing question: “Imagine thatplant-based meat has become widelyavailable, tasty and affordable atgrocery stores, restaurants, butchersand markets. How likely are you to tryplant-based meat?”

Already, 38 per cent of the surveyrespondents said they were eatingplant-based beef at least one to threetimes a month, and sometimes daily.Thirty-four per cent were eating plantbasedpoultry at least one to threetimes a month, and sometimes daily,while for plant-based pork, fish orseafood, the figure was 31 per cent.2Highly receptive to new productconcepts, butchers and meatprocessingcompanies can reachthis consumer group with plantbasedconcepts that mimic their oldfavourites but allow them to embracethe new dietary lifestyle they areaiming for.

“Consumers have been showingincreasingly individual needs foryears, and the desire for new products,especially in the plant-based segment,is great,” says Katharina Haack,Product Manager Health & Nutrition,GoodMills Innovation GmbH.

No room for compromise

However, despite the apparentwidespread consumer appetitefor plant-based foods, there isan important hurdle that anyonedeveloping new products has toovercome – how to deliver anenjoyable meat or fish-like texture. Ifthe mouthfeel isn’t right, consumerswill not purchase again. Texture is thekey to successful alternatives, andit is an area where manufacturerscannot afford to compromise.

The ideal is to be able to reproducethe original product in such a waythat no major differences in texturecan be perceived. This is called “meatmimicking” – the art of recreatingbite and mouthfeel for an authentictaste experience. Processorstherefore need to pay closeattention to the fibrosity and othersensory characteristics of the plantingredients they choose, whateverthe desired product concept may be.

GoodMills Innovation has long beeninvolved in the creation of plantbasedproteins and has developeda hassle-free solution that allowsfood producers to overcome textureissues with ease. Its new VITATEX®range is convincing both in termsof authenticity and texture, and issimple to process too. Available ina range of options, it can be used tosuccessfully replace meat in all sortsof conventional pork, beef, poultryand fish-based applications.

A simple swapWith VITATEX®, it is easy for meatprocessing plants to produce plantbasedalternatives. The texturatesexhibit such close parallels toconventional meat mass thatmanufacturers can use the samemachines to produce meat-free,patties, nuggets or cutlets as they dofor meat processing. The texturatesare pre-swollen and can simply befurther processed to the requiredsize in a cutter or mincer, just as aregular meat-based minced masswould be. This means that no majormanufacturing investment in newequipment is required.

In terms of other sensory perameters,the texturates have different, lighterand darker shades of yellow, and eachachieves a specific sensory sensationin the final product. Long, coarser fibersand short, finer fibers can be achieved,as well as a chunky mouthfeel, such asthat of minced meat. It is also possibleto combine different texturates to suitthe desired end product result.

For processors looking for advice onwhich texturates would work best inspecific applications, the GoodMillsexperts are on hand to help.