“One part of our mission is to raise awareness of the advantages of using these kinds of dry mixes," CEO Hani Zeid of Paris-based company Life Loving Foods said. "They don’t contain any preservatives yet they have a shelf life of over one year because they are completely dry. That also means that they are more environmentally friendly in terms of storage and transportation. It doesn’t require any cold storage and is extremely light.”
Speaking to FoodNavigator at FoodUse Tech in Dijon last week, Zeid, who previously worked in the fragrance industry before moving to food, said the
company added “the minimal amount” of ingredients required to mimic the taste and texture of meat.
Apart from the plant protein and potato starch, the dry mixes contain herbs and spices, with no colours or flavours.
"We don't need any preservatives either because of the lack of moisture," Zeid explained.
The eight-product dirty vegan' range of healthy fast-food dishes includes: Greek Gyros and Keftedes, Lebanese Shawarma, Indian Kofta and Tandoori, Turkish Adana and Doner and chicken nuggets.
“Our savoir-faire is knowing how to take these textured protein bases of wheat, soy or pea, which are neutral in taste and a bit rubbery, and turn them into recipes by adding the right spices. These are dishes that people know but, this way, they take less than 10 minutes to prepare [...], are vegan and contain fewer calories and less fat."
A 100 g serving of prepared and cooked product provides 17 g protein, 4 g fibre and 0.8 g salt.
Life Loving Foods used to sell the kits in bigger 600 g boxes but consumer feedback, asking for smaller formats that are suitable for one meal, led them to rethink the concept and launch smaller 300 g boxes that retail for €2.95.
One box contains three servings, and the smaller formats also allow it to appeal to users of meal kits.
Ingredients for Greek keftedes:
Textured soy protein, potato starch, dehydrated onion, pea protein, salt, garlic powder, ginger powder, grey pepper powder, dried parsley, thyme, sage and oregano.
“Our daily habit of eating meat has come from necessity. We need to eat protein every day and traditional meat products contain protein. Plants contain protein but not in dense enough quantities so this is a solution. We have concentrated the protein levels and made simple meal kits that are easy to prepare.”
The dry mixes require some hydrating time – from three to ten minutes depending on the product – and then they can be formed into patties and fried or grilled.
Zeid’s aim is for the product to be price competitive with high quality, premium meat. Currently, its dry mixes work out at less than €10 per kilo compared to around €8 per kilo for premium minced meat.
The product is currently sold online and in some subscription boxes in France and Germany, and the start-up is in negotiations with other retailers in France, the UK and Sweden.
It also has a range of vegan desserts, such as panna cotta and cookies.