CP Kelco creates clean label ingredient portfolio for texturizing plant-based meat alternatives
Natural ingredients supplier CP Kelco has developed a new portfolio to support product development in the fast-growing market of plant-based meat alternatives. The range includes clean label ingredient options for formulating plant-based burger and sausage alternatives, while switching out additives like methylcellulose and starch.
“Along with this next generation of plant-based meat alternatives, we are seeing the convergence of two trends: the flexitarian trend and the clean label trend,” Adeline Saadi, senior manager of business development at CP Kelco’s Alternative Proteins Program, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“More flexitarian consumers are interested in trying plant-based meat alternatives and more consumers are interested in reading package labels,” she notes.
“The reason why flexitarians are drawn to plant-based products is because they consider them to be better for them. A package label with a long list of hard-to-pronounce ingredients does not meet their perception of a ‘good-for-you’ product.”
Solution to “sticky” patties
With the rise of flexitarians, plant-based meat alternative products were developed to be as close as possible to meat, but they had a long and complex ingredient list.
Now that the category has ballooned in popularity, the demographic of consumers that CP Kelco calls “Generation 2.0” demonstrates an appetite for a simpler, more recognizable ingredient list. Meanwhile, taste, texture and an overall meat-like eating experience remain essential.
“The remarkable part is that innovation came from within our existing portfolio of gellan gum, pectin, carrageenan and citrus fiber,” remarks Robert Dunn, senior marketing director and alternative proteins program lead.
“We drew upon the strength of these proven, nature-based ingredients and our talented team of scientists to answer the growing market need for cleaner label alternatives to methylcellulose and starch, the top two ingredients used in plant-based meat alternatives.”
Among the new line is Kelcogel MA-60 Gellan Gum, which acts as an alternative to methylcellulose.
“We found that methylcellulose made patties quite sticky and our Kelcogel MA-60 Gellan Gum made the patties easier to handle – little things like that can help make a product developer’s job easier,” details Saadi.
“It adds a hot bite and texture for an enjoyable meat-like eating experience. In addition, it is very easy to work with and process-friendly, producing a less-sticky dough for forming burger patties.”
Next-gen gellan gum for juiciness
Gellan gum, made by fermentation, is already considered a go-to functional ingredient for solving plant-based protein challenges and is widely used in plant-based, dairy alternative beverages.
For extra juiciness, CP Kelco’s Genu Pectin MA-50 can be used in combination with Kelcogel MA-60 Gellan Gum or another gelling agent.
The supplier’s pectin is upcycled from spent citrus peels, as byproduct of the juice industry, and is an easily recognizable, consumer-friendly ingredient used in a variety of foods and beverages.
Texturizing the right bite
The third solution within the new range, GenuTexturizer MA-1, is a multifunctional solution that provides juicy texture in both a hot and cold bite.
The ingredient is a blend of carrageenan, extracted from red seaweed, and methylcellulose, which could present an opportunity for those looking to extend their product line into plant-based sausages.
The overall synergies of CP Kelco’s newest solutions are complemented by Nutrava Citrus Fiber Boost, a clean label-friendly fiber ingredient that enables starch replacement in plant-based meat alternatives.
Made from sustainably sourced citrus peel, a byproduct of the juice industry, it stabilizes emulsions and provides water-holding capacity, which increases cooking yield and juiciness.
Assisting with formulation techniques
CP Kelco runs an innovation center test kitchen to put recipes together and study ease of use in processing.
“We like to get a sense of the type of mixing equipment that customers used, and if we can help eliminate any steps such as creating a pre-solution with our ingredient or if it can be added as a dry mix,” says Saadi.
“We have developed and used several analytical and rheological techniques, like texture profile analyses, to characterize important parameters for plant-based burger and sausage alternatives,” she details.
“They can measure attributes like hardness, cohesiveness, springiness and others. These parameters were then related to sensory evaluation to get an overall texture and taste or mouthfeel profile.”
CP Kelco also offers functional solutions in dairy alternative beverages. Last November, the company unveiled its Kelcogel DFA Gellan Gum, a single-ingredient, dual-function solution for formulating plant-based milks.
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