PlantPROMISE: Plant PROtein Meat alternatIveS using Extrusion
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.
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. PlantPROMISE’s 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 project objectives are:
- Generating new insights in extrusion conditions for texturizing protein to meat analogues;
- Generating new insights in optimal product quality of extruded meat analogues with different ingredients, including protein and fibres, flavour, oil and emulsions;
- Evaluating the sensorial quality of meat analogues based on alternative plant proteins and understanding the consumer acceptance of model products;
- Relation between extrusion parameters and protein digestibility;
- Evaluating the sustainability of plant-based meat analogues by extrusion
Alternatives for meat, made from sustainably produced proteins for the human diet are urgently needed. PlantPROMISE ambition and vision towards new generation of plant-based meat are:
-Reduced consumption of animal based products by developing novel, high quality texturized plant-based alternatives;
-Focus on ingredient requirement for plant-based meat analogues but rather on ingredient purity to achieve higher efficiency and reduced use of energy.
With these vision and ambitions and the project objectives described above, PlantPROMISE contributes to the aim of MMIP A4 which is to change the ratio between animal based and plant based proteins in human diets toward 40/60 by the development and improvement of plant based protein sources and the development of sustainable, healthy and consumer accepted plant based products.
In June 2019, PlantPROMISE started with 7 industrial partners, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and Wageningen University.
The project is divided into 6 work packages (WPs). The focus of each WP is shown below. Knowledge transfer is addressed in WP 6 focussing on communication and dissemination.
- WP 1 Extrusion for structuring of plant proteins towards meat analogues, proving insights in extrusion conditions for texturizing protein to meat analogues
- WP 2 Product quality, providing insights in optimal product quality of extruded meat analogues with different ingredients (protein, fibre, flavour, oil and emulsions)
- WP 3 Sensorial quality and consumer acceptance, evaluating the sensorial quality of meat analogues based on alternative plant proteins and determining consumer acceptance of model products
- WP 4 Nutritional value and digestibility
- WP 5 Sustainability analysis, evaluating of the sustainability of alternative proteins for meat analogues using functional fractionation and extrusion
Planning is done on two levels:
• An overall planning, as described in the project plan, with deliverables for the entire duration of the project.
• A detailed planning for each WP, discussed in the consortium.
In 2020, the activities in PlantPROMISE will be continued according to the overall planning described in the project plan and the detailed planning discussed with the partners for the different WPs. Special focus will be on:
• Scientific publications: multiple publications are foreseen, and presentations will be given at scientific conferences
• Interaction between WPs: in addition to the activities belonging to individual WP, many interactions are foreseen between the WPs, e.g. by transferring fundamental results to the more applied WPs, and by using insights from one WP in another WP.