Towards a next generation meat analogues
Plant Meat Matters builds the required scientific basis to understand the structuring process of meat analogues while including flavour components, fat and other ingredients. Together with partners that span the entire vegetable protein chain, this basis will be used to further develop technologies for making the next generation of consumer-accepted meat analogues with improved characteristics that can be produced more cost-effectively and will have reduced environmental impact compared to meat analogues currently available on the market.
The high and increasing consumption of products from animal origin is one of the key factors making current food production routes insufficiently efficient to feed the growing, and more affluent world population. A route to reduce the consumption of those products is the development of plant-based analogues for meat or meat-like products. In recent years, Wageningen University and the Technical University of Delft jointly developed a novel technology for the production of fibrous, plant-based materials on nano to mesoscale, resembling the structure and bite of meat better than commercial products that are currently available to consumers. This fibrous material could, therefore, form the basis of the next generation of meat analogues.
• Improve scientific basis for next generation meat analogues
- Product quality: water binding, fat, flavours, etc.
- Ingredient flexibility & possibilities for processing
• Further development of technologies and ingredients for meat analogues
- Consumer accepted and improved characteristics
- Cost-effective process with reduced environmental impact
• Enable partners to develop and produce better meat analogues, ingredients, flavouring and equipment.
The Plant Meat Matters consortium consists of Meyn Food Processing Technology, Avril, Ingredion, Givaudan, saturn petcare, Nutrition & Santé SAS, De Vegetarische Slager, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, Rival Foods, Wageningen University Food Process Engineering and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research.
Plant Meat Matters has the following vision and ambition towards a next generation of meat analogues:
• Reduced consumption of products from animal origin is a key step towards a sustainable diet and can be achieved by direct replacement by textured plant-based products
• Ingredients necessary for meat analogues can be produced with higher efficiency, and reduced use of energy, water and chemicals when focusing on the right ingredients for meat analogues rather than on pure ingredients
• Producing less waste by the production of meat analogues is possible by keeping food fresh for longer and on-demand production of meat analogues
With these vision and ambitions and the project objectives described above, Plant Meat Matters 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 January 2017, Plant Meat Matters started with eight industrial partners, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research and Wageningen University. In 2018, a new partner joined the consortium; Rival Foods.
The project is divided into 8 work packages (WPs). WP 1 and 2 focus on bridging the technology gap and build on background knowledge and results from the 6 other WPs. WP 3-6 focus on understanding the structuring process by in-depth research involving PhD students. Knowledge transfer is addressed in WP 8 focussing on communication and dissemination.
Planning is done on two levels:
• An overall planning, as described in the project plan, with deliverables for the entire duration of the project. In 2019, together with the partners, this planning was evaluated and updated when necessary.
• A detailed planning for each WP, discussed in the consortium.
In 2020, the activities in Plant Meat Matters 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
• Insight in relation ingredients – processing towards meat analogues: the results obtained in Plant Meat Matters will be combined to develop an overall hypotheses of the behaviour of proteins under shear and heat. This is relevant for shear cell technology, but also for other structuring technologies such as extrusion.
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.