Improved sensory quality of meat analogues
This project applies expertise on food oral processing to a completely new product category. To date no study has viewed meat analogues through this lens, leading to a major knowledge gap; the impact of the structure of meat analogues on oral structure breakdown, aroma and off-flavour release, and texture and flavour perception is unknown. This project addresses that knowledge gap, and translates the learnings to better quality products through supply chain partnerships.
This project, ISQA, is relevant to MMIP A4, Protein supply from (new) plant-based sources, which aims to shift the ratio of animal to plant-based proteins in the human diet, and aims to develop sustainable, healthy, and by the consumer accepted plant-based products.
The focus of ISQA is on priority 9 of the MMIP A4: “the supply chain from crop to product for enhancing protein quality related to biomass properties, processing and product quality”. The project develops an understanding and provides proofs-of-principle how sensory quality of plant-based and sustainable meat analogues can be improved across the supply chain by optimising production and processing of meat analogue ingredients (proteins, oils and fats, flavour blocks) and meat analogues. The unique contribution of this project to the MMIP A4 is to place end product sensory quality central; to our knowledge, no public project has ever explored the role of oral processing in flavour release and flavour and texture perception in meat analogues.
Because of the urgency to shift the human diet towards plant-based diets, a number of projects are dedicated to plant-based meat analogues which contribute to the MMIP goals. For example, other projects in the portfolio focus specifically on technology platforms. While these projects consider flavour and juiciness as quality parameters, they do not provide understanding of the mechanisms behind sensory perception of these attributes.
ISQA starts at a different point in the value chain: placing the consumption moment with the end consumer central, and linking the supply chain through the lens of oral phenomena.
Deliverables and timelines
Start 1-4-2021; so at the end of 2021, 9 months have passed. Months indicated are the originally planned months for realising each deliverable
WP 1: Key-aroma compounds, mouth models and model products
D1.1 Overview of the current state of the flavour perception and oral processing parameters of current meat analogues and the meat/chicken reference products – Month 6
D1.2 Key- off flavour compounds identified and selected – Month 12
D1.3 ‘Meat” flavour blocks identified and tested regarding usefulness in analyses – Month 12
D1.4 Description and set-up of the physical mouth models – Month 21
D1.5 Protein ingredients (plant proteins) and oil and fat types selected – Month 6
D1.6 Definition of a meat analogue model product – Month 12
WP2: Oral processes to optimize flavour release and juiciness
D2.1 Identification of suitable ingredients (protein sources/hydrocolloids/oils and fats) to alter textural characteristics of meat analogue models – Month 15
D2.2 Mechanistic understanding of interrelationships between oral processing behaviour, texture properties and sensory- , flavour- and juiciness perception – Month 48
D2.3 Strategies to control oil and serum release for meat analogues – Month 24
D2.4 Insight in oral coating and flavour lingering upon oral processing – Month 48
D2.5 Overview on integration of strategies to enhance the flavour profile and texture (juiciness) of meat analogues – Month 48
WP3: Proof of principle: Application in (model) meat analogue products
D3.1 Model meat analogues varying in juiciness and texture – Month 18
D3.2 Overview of improved insight in tools to modify juiciness and texture of meat analogue models by processing parameters and protein and fat ingredient properties – Month 48
D3.3 Overview of differences (different functionalities including flavour, and juiciness) in comparison with meat and existing meat analogue products – Month 45
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