Innophos releases new data on texture solutions for plant-based meat substitutes
Innophos, the specialty ingredient solutions provider, has released its latest whitepaper, Solutions for Plant-Based Meat Substitutes. This research follows a recent presentation that the company delivered at the 2022 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Event and Expo, highlighting solutions to solve the challenges around formulating plant-based meat substitutes.
The texture of meat comes from muscle, composed of individual elongated fibers joined by connective tissue. Each muscle fiber consists of numerous myofibrils which in turn, are comprised of myofilaments, long protein chains of myosin and actin. This myofilament matrix provides a physical space where water is trapped by capillary forces, H-bonds, or ion-dipole interactions. The myofibrillar proteins (MPs) have heat-induced gelling properties and fat emulsifying abilities. These properties play a critical role in producing the viscoelastic textural attributes of cooked meat when it is consumed. Plant-based proteins, such as soy and pea, have a globular structure. This structure creates challenges when developing products with a fibrous texture. Globular proteins cannot impart the highly organized fibrous texture and water holding capacity (WHC) seen in muscle fibers due to differences in amino acid composition and sequence, protein structure and the molecular association and structural alignment.
Transforming these globular proteins into linear muscle-like proteins and increasing the WHC is a first step towards improving mouthfeel and in achieving a viable alternative to meat products.3,4Mechanical processing techniques, such as extrusion, shearing, spinning, and mixing, can improve the texture of plant-based proteins. Yet, these processing techniques are not sufficient on their own to mimic the organoleptic properties of meat products. Phosphates are key ingredients in developing appealing meat substitutes because they impact protein functionality (for example: ability to form gels, hold water, absorb fat, emulsify). These functionalities impart sensory characteristics to the food products such as flavor, texture and taste which ultimately determines consumer acceptability of new products.
The new whitepaper, which you can download here, presents case studies that showcase how the right phosphate and protein combinations can improve the texture and taste of plant-based meat substitute products. Key topics include: consumer trends and how Gen Z is driving change in the plant-based space; the challenges of formulating meat substitutes with plant-based proteins; and detailed case studies on the impact of phosphate technologies on texture in a variety of plant-based meat substitutes.
Consumer adoption of plant-based meat substitutes depends on delivering a good sensory experience. Phosphates play a critical role in helping formulators develop appealing plant-based products by improving water holding capacity, fat absorption, emulsification, and gelling properties of the proteins. Phosphates influence protein functionalities by changing their physicochemical properties as they interact with functional groups and charges.
By understanding plant-based protein functionalities and modulating with phosphates, manufacturers can develop meat substitutes with better textural profiles for consumers seeking heathy and sustainable food products. Innophos’s phosphate expertise and extensive application knowledge are therefore ideal resources for manufacturers seeking to develop premium meat substitute products.
“Following a highly attended presentation at IFT First 22, we are excited to share the science behind the unique benefits that phosphates bring to plant-based products,” said Eugenia Erlij, Vice President of Marketing & Communications at Innophos.
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