Perfecting plant-based meat alternatives

A quick look at any grocery case or restaurant menu will show that plant-based meat alternatives are becoming mainstream. What started with the ‘veggie’ burger has become a booming market opportunity to delight consumers with a broad range of meat-free options, from patties to sausages to nuggets and beyond. All told, the meat alternatives retail market is expected to double this decade.

What’s behind the consumer motivations for choosing plant-based protein options ?

Consumer motivations for choosing plant-based protein options are varied, ranging from health (adding more plants to their diet) to environmental (reducing their carbon footprint). Regardless of the reason, their expectations and preferences are becoming more and more sophisticated. Sorry veggie burger, but it’s no longer enough to be ‘just’ plant-based.

It takes a lot to stand out

Faced with an increasing number of meat-free options, consumers are looking to check a lot of boxes before opening their wallets (and mouths). They are actively seeking products that are lower in fat and salt and rich in nutrients – vitamins and protein in particular – and they’re increasingly checking labels for familiar ingredients and a more sustainable footprint. If manufacturers can nail these elements it will certainly increase appeal, but at the end of the day, taste is still king. In fact, 62% of consumers choose taste over everything else when it comes to food products, and plant-based meat alternatives are no exception.

Great taste naturally delivers great flavor, and for consumers this increasingly means a rich meaty taste (rather than a ‘beany’ one). The right texture in plant-based meat alternatives can also tip the scales from ‘dry’ to ‘delightful’. Consumers are looking for the fatty mouthfeel and juicy succulence typically associated with meat, as well as a firmness that keeps each bite from crumbling apart.

In short, it seems consumers are in search of an unmistakable meat-like experience when they’re enjoying plant-based meat alternatives.


Meeting meat-free expectations is in reach

Without question, these are complex challenges for manufacturers looking to develop winning products for this thriving market. It takes the right mix of tools to improve taste and texture while delivering nutritional value and managing salt. Drawing from the full breadth of DSM’s food and nutrition expertise, we recently launched an integrated portfolio of solutions to help manufacturers meet these very challenges and develop meat alternatives that check all the right boxes. It features a selection of yeast extracts, process flavors, hydrocolloids and nutritional ingredients that can be uniquely combined to create signature products that meet ever-evolving consumer demands.

For example, our:

Filling nutritional gaps for healthier plant-based options

These tools can help food manufacturers build the right taste and texture in plant-based protein products, but we know that nutrition matters too, especially as consumers are increasingly label-conscious. In a recent DSM study, nearly 85% reported being aware that they’re missing out on vitamins and minerals when following ‘elimination diets’. Here, DSM is uniquely positioned to help improve the nutritional profile of plant-based meat alternatives with our:

Building better burgers (and beyond)

Food manufacturers face an enormous opportunity to harness the thriving plant-based meat alternatives market, which will certainly go way beyond burgers and patties in the coming years as innovation in this space continues apace. DSM’s new integrated portfolio of solutions can help manufacturers build plant-based protein products with the taste and texture consumers crave and, thanks to the added value of vitamins and premixes, the healthful nutritional profile they expect.

To find out how our meat-alternatives portfolio can help you build better meat-free products, drop me an email.

Looking for a better way to develop plant-based meat alternatives?

DSM’s family of integrated solutions for meat-free products will help you improve the taste, texture and nutritional value of your plant-based products – and manage sodium.

Our experts are always ready to help you

Published on

20 July 2020