Food leaders advance alternative protein development

By Natasha Spencer

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: GettyImages-vaaseenaa
Pic: GettyImages-vaaseenaa

Related tags: plant-based

The alternative protein market explodes with a wave of innovation in taste, texture and formats to meet uncompromising demands for protein-mimicking market offerings.

Today’s global alternative protein market is a $2.2 billion (€1.9 billion) industry, management consulting firm McKinsey reports. Showing no signs of slowing down either, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% from 2019-2025, it is estimated to reach $17.9 billion (€15.1 billion) by 2025, McKinsey reveals.

The alternative protein market has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. Innovation is focusing on taste, texture and the overall sensorial experience to appeal to consumers looking for plant-based options. In today’s alternatives space, taste is king, with consumers no longer willing to compromise on poorer taste in alternative protein delivery.

The popularity of vegan beef, chicken, bacon, sausage and cheese flavours highlights consumer expectations for authentic tastes, especially in meat and dairy-free products, market intelligence company, Innova reveals in its 2021 report on Plant Based Innovation: No Compromises—Alternative Protein Flavors Mimic Meat & Dairy.

Meeting protein-mimicking expectations

The acceleration of alternative protein development continues at speed to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer demands for meat-mimicking and dairy-imitating properties.

We take a look at three key players that are pursuing leading developments in the transformation of sensory innovation in alternative proteins.

#1: Givaudan announces new alternative protein innovation hub in Zurich

On 7th September 2021, flavour and fragrances creator, Givaudan, revealed it is opening a new state-of-the-art protein hub at its flagship Zurich Innovation Centre in Kemptthal, Switzerland.

The hub, dedicated to the innovation of alternative proteins, will feature a development kitchen and pilot plant that includes a new high moisture extrusion machine. The equipment and hub are designed to enable the company to develop alternative proteins to reflect growing plant-based, health and ethical consumer food demands and consumption habits.

News of Givaudan’s European Zurich-based innovation hub comes after the flavour innovator announced it had launched its APAC Protein Innovation Centre in Singapore in April 2021.

“The Protein Hub brings together customers, start-ups, academics, chefs and other partners to co-create protein experiences that not only taste great but are good for body, mind and planet,”​ says Louie D’Amico, President Taste & Wellbeing, Givaudan.

#2: Redefine Meat launches first-ever series of ‘New-Meat’ products

In July 2021, alternative meat innovator, Redefine Meat, unveiled its inaugural ‘New Meat’ plant-based range. Striving to bring alternative meat to the hospitality industry, the range consists of what Redefine Meat hails as the “world’s first premium restaurant-style burger, an artisan sausage and a meaty puff pastry cigar”. The meat-mimicking collection also includes a versatile ground beef developed for high-quality restaurants and open flame grilling, and a Lamb Kebab, that has been in development for over two years.

Redefine Meat will roll out its five-strong alternative meat range, ‘New-Meat’ products to Europe in Q4 2021, and will also launch its first whole cut range by the end of the year.

“Each product in the range and the ones to follow are born from our understanding of meat at the molecular level, extensive R&D and technological innovation, which combined, provide us the ability to create any meat product that exists today,”​ highlights Eshchar Ben-Shitrit, CEO and Co-Founder of Redefine Meat.

“This has been critical to achieving a superiority in taste that honestly, we did not even expect, and the technological versatility to do what no other has done—replace every part of the cow with tasty plant-based meat,”​ adds Ben-Shitrit.

#3: Bell Flavors & Fragrances releases alternative protein and Vegan flavour collection

In April 2021, leading flavour and fragrance provider for the food industry, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, revealed it was releasing taste technologies and flavours to help producers tackle product development challenges and improve the overall taste profile of plant-based alternatives.

The taste innovator aims to overcome the limitation of taste in alternative proteins by launching its product range and providing clean label taste solutions for meat, fish and dairy alternatives as well as plant-based high protein options.

Where does future innovation lie?

Looking forward, opportunities revolve around sensory improvements due to new types of protein emerging. Think insects, which are thought to be a sustainable and abundant resource, Innova reports. Full-flavour profiles are anticipated to evolve the sector, with manufacturers using new ingredients to create interesting alternative proteins.

We can also expect to see new bases such as ancient grains, mixed plants and hybrid dairy and non-dairy varieties, cross-category development to offer multifunctionality and alternative protein personalization to cater to specific needs.

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