IFT: Solae unveils new protein technology

By Anthony Fletcher in Orlando

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Meat Nutrition

The Solae company has launched a new range of protein ingredients
that it claims could help redefine meat and meat-free categories.

A team of scientists unveiled the new patent-pending technology yesterday at the IFT show in Orlando, Florida.

The team claims that the new process enables nutritious protein to accurately duplicate both the taste and texture of traditional beef or chicken.

The technology, called SoleCina, is the result of several years of research and development.

"This is a game-changing innovation with the potential to greatly enhance how our customers satisfy changing consumer needs,"​ said Tony Arnold, president and chief executive of Solae.

"SoleCina is an example of our broad portfolio of application science, food ingredient innovation and a deep understanding of consumer trends coming together to deliver another industry breakthrough."

SoleCina converts a proprietary blend of vegetable and meat protein into what the company calls a nutritious hybrid with the consistency of cooked, whole muscle meat. Solae also claims that after flavouring, the final product almost perfectly mimics the taste and appearance of beef strips, chunks, patties or steak but with considerably fewer calories, less fat and less cholesterol.

"It is the only plant-based protein with a protein quality equal to that of meat, milk and eggs,"​ said Jonathan McIntyre, the company's vice president of research and development.

"It's easily digested into the body, rich in micronutrients such as iron and B-vitamins, and is cholesterol free. When combined with a modest amount of meat, you have a very nutritious product."

A Solae spokesperson told FoodNavigator that one the strengths of the technology was that it created aligned fibres that arent seen in other vegetable protein products. "This means that the piece has a very meat-like bite,"​ he said. "It also shreds like meat."

SoleCina is an example of Solae's portfolio of soy protein ingredients. The company believes that the new technology has great potential - components of the invention can produce a superior meat analogue with a wide range of textural characteristics that resemble whole muscle meat and poultry.

A meat analogue is a manufactured food product that looks and tastes like meat, commonly imitating the form of a hamburger, hot dog or sausage.

"The meat analogue market exploded between 1985 and 1995, but growth has stalled in recent years,"​ said Arnold. "People like the idea of vegetarian foods, but they havent been entirely satisfied with their form.

"There are certain characteristics that consumers expect in a meat-free product, and we think our technology is well positioned to deliver those attributes and jumpstart that category."

Indeed, Solae is adamant that this product is targeted at consumers who like eating meat. "We envision this product to sit alongside meat products in the supermarket,"​ said the spokesperson.

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