Consumer preference is shifting toward plant-based meat substitutes perceived to be healthier for people and the planet. Meat analogs present an opportunity for food manufacturers, but they can be challenging to produce in order to deliver pleasing taste and texture.

Protein contributes to the overall properties (appearance, texture, mouthfeel, juiciness, etc.) of red meat, poultry and fish.  Much of the functional characteristics of meat are due to its myofibrillar proteins. The unique properties of meat proteins cannot be easily replicated by any other native protein from plant sources. It is possible, however, using extrusion processing or a new technique called shear cell technology, along with creative formulations, to transform plant protein and create a product that imitates the appearance, texture, color and taste of real meat.

Plant-based proteins from soy, wheat and pea are popular ingredients used to resemble meat. Transforming these native proteinaceous materials to replicate the appearance and fibrous texture of meat requires the addition of other ingredients during processing. These make the product more appealing (colorant and flavor for desired appearance and taste) and aid in processing (lecithin to improved flow, pH adjustment to help in texturization, and calcium chloride to improve smoothness and textural integrity.) Last, an anti-oxidant would be added to extend shelf life.

Textured wheat and pea proteins processed with extrusion technology are MGP Ingredients’ solution for formulating plant-based meat analogs. These exhibit a meat-like fibrous structure with resilient texture, good hydration properties and bring neutral flavor to a finished food product.




Plant-Based Milks

The Almond Board of California has compiled almond milk consumer insights, recipe inspiration and sustainability information for manufacturers to consider while formulating with almond milk. This one-stop Almond Milk Guide contains new almond milk consumer insights from Datassential’s 2020 Almond Assessment; almond milk recipes and a video demonstration; and information on almond milk in plant-based products— especially the desserts and ice cream category. It also includes resources on sustainable sourcing and the California almond community’s efforts toward continuous improvement in responsible farming practices.

— Almond Board of California,


Plant-Based Seafood

Givaudan partnered with the University of California, Berkeley’s Product Development Program to examine the plant-based seafood market and its manufacturing challenges. An exclusive new white paper looks at taste, texture, color, proteins, nutritional content and processing—and how these must be addressed holistically. “Our paper explores the latest industry developments and identifies the biggest opportunities, as well as the innovations that will be game-changing for the industry in the coming years,” says Sylvain Jouet, Givaudan global product manager, Meat Substitutes, Fish and Seafood.



Next-Gen Meat Analogues

PLT Health Solutions and Nutriati, LLC offer Artesa Textured Pulse Protein, a proprietary combination of Nutriati’s Artesa Chickpea Flour and carefully sourced yellow pea protein that has been manufactured to tightly controlled final ingredient specifications. Artesa Textured Pulse Protein can offer product developers more reproducible results in meat analogues, as well as formulation predictability, cleaner labels and ultimately, a more “meat-like” experience than other textured vegetable protein (TVP) solutions. Artesa Textured Pulse Protein can be used as a stand-alone ingredient in many meat analogue applications. The functionality of Artesa Textured Pulse Protein also powers the development of plant-based meat products without the need for other texturizers, binders or emulsifiers. It lets formulators eliminate ingredients like egg whites, wheat gluten and methylcellulose.

— PLT Health Solutions,


Navigating the Plant-Based World

As demand for plant protein reaches new heights in the food industry, you’ve got to be fast—to  formulate to your own standards, as well as ever-changing consumer tastes. Here’s where Ingredion’s plant protein expertise moves you ahead. With our full formulation and applications capabilities, and continuously growing portfolio that includes isolates, concentrates, and flours, the future of sustainably sourced, nutritious plant-based protein is yours to explore. We’re committed to plant protein and we’re continually investing to help you navigate this developing plant-based world. Ingredion has a plant-based Meat Center of Excellence in Englewood, Colo., and a Plant-based Dairy Center of Excellence at the Ingredion Idea Labs global center in Bridgewater, N.J.

— Ingredion,


Plant Proteins

ADM introduces new Arcon T textured pea proteins, Prolite MeatTEX textured wheat protein and Prolite MeatXT non-textured wheat protein. Prolite MeatTEX textured wheat protein and its non-textured counterpart, Prolite MeatXT wheat protein, contribute meat-like texture to meat and seafood alternative products. With clean taste and a blank-slate color base, these highly-functional proteins offer water absorption and hydration speeds that enhance processing efficiency and reliability. Arcon T textured pea proteins deliver improved hydration properties and can offer a higher PDCAAS score than other pea proteins on the market. With minimized off notes and a light color, these proteins are ideal for meat alternatives. These products do not require allergen statements, so they are perfectly suited for allergen-free products.

— ADM,


Vegan Ice Cream

Malt Products Corporation (MPC), a manufacturer of malted barley extract and other natural, nutritious sweeteners, has experienced an uptick in demand for its all-natural sweeteners in the burgeoning vegan ice cream market. All-natural sweeteners like MPC’s TapRite tapioca extract and RiceRite brown rice-based sweeteners offer a lower dextrose equivalent (DE). This provides bulking and controls ice crystal growth—bringing a creamy consistency to vegan ice cream that may otherwise be difficult to realize.

Meanwhile, sweeteners such as MPC’s OatRite oat extract, as well as certain vegan-certified items in its CaneRite sugar cane molasses portfolio, help provide appropriate taste to popular flavors such as Mocha, Crème Brulee and Cookies & Cream.

— Malt Products Corp.,


Walnuts: The Clean Label Meat Alternative

Walnuts have the perfect bite that is quite unique compared to other nuts. The texture of a walnut is neither too hard nor too soft, making them the ideal inclusion in plant-based meat. In these formulas, walnuts are blended with black beans, chickpeas or other legumes to yield a plant-based meat alternative that has a similar texture to ground beef. Add taco seasoning to the blend and you have the perfect plant-based tacos. Add Italian seasoning for a vegetarian take on a filled frozen ravioli or lasagna. The next generation of plant-based foods will focus on clean label products, and walnuts can play a starring role due to their subtle nuttiness and exceptional texture that mimics ground beef in tacos, hamburgers and more.

— California Walnuts,


New Name to Know

A specialist for stabilizing and texturing systems, Hydrosol quickly has become a key player in the plant-based alternatives market. Its product portfolio has expanded enormously, and last year this expertise was bundled in the newly founded “Plant Based Competence Center.” Now comes the next step. Hydrosol’s plant-based unit has become an autonomous company, and as of September 28, 2020, Planteneers, “The Plant Based Pioneers” are the experts for plant-based alternatives within the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe. Planteneers GmbH, headquartered in Ahrensburg, Germany, develops and produces individual system solutions for plant-based alternatives to meat, sausage and fish products, as well as cheese, dairy products and deli foods. Planteneers also can access nearly 100 R&D specialists and the extensive applications technology of the large Stern-Technology Center in Ahrensburg.

— Planteneers,


Plant-Based? Come Visit!

Cargill’s new virtual trade show booth offers insights into key trends in the food and beverage marketplace, including the rapid growth of plant-based eating. Flexitarians are driving the category, with more than one-third of consumers reporting meat alternatives are their main protein source, while dairy alternative milk sales are up 23% in the past four years. Still, while interest in plant-based products has skyrocketed, to achieve mainstream appeal they must deliver on consumer’s sensory and label expectations.  Cargill’s online experience also showcases the company’s broad portfolio of plant proteins, texturizers, and fats and oils, and highlights its expertise in formulation, prototyping, consumer insights and more.

— Cargill,


Specialty Fats, Oils

Vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets have rapidly moved into the mainstream, bringing unique challenges for food producers – and a world of opportunities. Yet, at AAK, plant-based ingredients are not new—they are part of who we are. AkoPlanet is AAK’s platform for plant-based foods. It’s where we harness over 100 years of experience in plant-based oils and fats so people who choose a plant-based lifestyle can enjoy the foods they love without compromise. With our dedicated approach you can take your plant-based meat, -dairy or -frozen dessert to the next level. Together we can create the sensory experience and nutritional profile you are looking for and at the same time make sure that your sustainability credentials are met.

— AAK USA Inc.,


Clean Label Non-Dairy

Amano Enzyme offers a new white paper about the quickly evolving market for non-dairy milks and how manufacturers can differentiate products to meet consumers’ discerning tastes. Amano also introduced the enzyme, Protein Glutaminase ‘Amano’ 500, (PG 500), derived through a unique fermentation process. It can be used to increase the solubility of proteins and improve their emulsification properties, which has been demonstrated to create a smoother mouthfeel. “PG 500 allows plant-based milk brands to go one step further with their clean-label positioning, thereby living up to the highest standards which discerning consumers increasingly desire,” says Ken Iritani, vice president of technical sales. “It provides a smart, label-friendly solution for a better sensory experience, which blends in nicely with the ethos and messaging championed by plant-based milk industry leaders.”

— Amano Enzyme,


Delivering Non-Dairy

Today’s consumers are embracing plant-based dairy alternatives more than ever before. Yet manufacturers still face challenges in creating products that are just as good as the real thing. Helping address that gap are the dairy flavoring experts at Butter Buds. “Our R&D professionals have the dairy expertise and understanding of flavor ingredients to help manufacturers avoid common pitfalls that arise with these new plant-based products,” says John Buhler, president. Balancing taste, texture and functionality is an essential part of crafting successful dairy-free products. Butter Buds has several new non-dairy products—including dairy alternative concentrates—that can help food and beverage manufacturers address these formulation challenges.

— Butter Buds Inc.,


Available in granules, chips and shreds in colored and uncolored versions to simulate poultry, seafood, pork or beef, MGP’s ProTerra textured proteins are easily hydrated and can assume the intended appearance, shape, texture and taste of plant-based burgers, patties, sausages, nuggets, and pulled pork or beef.   

When it comes to textured wheat protein in granule form, no special processing like grinding or bowl chopping is necessary. The pre-hydrated granules are added to the other ingredients, mixed thoroughly and formed into the desired shape of the vegan, vegetarian or blended meat product. Chips are hydrated with approximately 2.5 parts water and allowed to soak for approximately 30-40 minutes. The shredded version of textured wheat protein does not require pre-hydration and can be incorporated directly to the rest of the ingredients and water, and it will automatically hydrate during the mixing step.

And textured wheat protein has important flavor-related attributes. Because of its neutral taste, it doesn’t require masking flavors and needs less seasoning. It “marinates” much like an animal-based protein, so incorporating savory and sweet-type flavors is easy to accomplish.

Food formulators wisely choose textured pea and wheat proteins for their meat-like qualities.

MGP Ingredients |