The meat-free, plant-based trend continues to be an important trend in the food industry and is one of the main areas of product development for food manufacturers. However, what exactly, are these meat-free meats made of?
Here are a few of the more common ingredients used:
Typically listed as pea protein, this ingredient is used as an animal protein substitute.
This is processed wheat gluten is high in protein, low in fat, and rich in selenium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and copper—making it a nutritious ingredient in many plant-based meats. It’s also a great soy-free option for those with allergies, although it is not suitable for those with coeliac disease/gluten intolerances.
Fat is a major player in flavour and texture of food - it provides richness, juiciness and is responsible for flavour release. It activates certain areas of the brain that are responsible for processing taste, aroma and reward mechanisms.
The industry standard has been to use coconut oil to replace animal fat. However, coconut oil melts at much lower temperature than animal fat. The is means that the the taste experience often starts off rich and juicy, but wears off. Some plant-based meats, therefore use a combination of plant-based oils, such as canola and sunflower oils, to increase the melting temperature and extend the juiciness.
Meat-free burgers often contain beet juice, designed to loosely imitate that red colour of burgers. Unlike more artificial ingredients that give plant-based meats an animal-protein look and texture, beet juice—made from steamed, boiled or roasted beets—is a good-for-you ingredient.
Often used in plant-based meats to impart an animal-meat flavour, yeast extract also provides a savoury umami flavour. It is also an important source of vitamin B12, which is crucial for vegans and vegetarians because it’s predominantly found in animal products such as meat, fish, milk and eggs.
This ingredient found in the roots of soybean plants is used in many plant-based burgers because of its ability to make fake meat “bleed” when cooked.
Spices and herbs
A wide range of spices is used in meat alternative products. The most popular mixes include dried onions, dried garlic, black pepper, garlic, chilli, paprika, ginger, and curry powder. Many also contain a wide range of herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme.
Chemgrit Food is a supplier of various ingredients including spices to the food industry. For information contact Chemgrit Food.
Information Sourced: Green Queen; Live Naturally