Shelf-stable textured protein that delivers experience ‘much closer to whole muscle meat…’ IFF unveils tech breakthrough for meat alternatives
A dry textured protein in large irregularly-shaped chunks, SUPRO TEX is “designed to provide a texture much closer to whole muscle meat, in a quality level not achievable by existing low-moisture textured proteins today,” Cintia Nishiyama, global product marketing for Proteins, IFF, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“Because it is a dry product, manufacturers won’t need to invest in an extrusion line in their plants or have to deal with the complexities of a cold supply chain and its related costs,” she explained.
“The new protein [80% protein content] not only delivers a much more cost-effective solution than high moisture extrusion, but is also more sustainable: as a dry product, it eliminates the need for a cold supply chain, simplifying and reducing shipping costs and storage, while also reducing energy use.”
“What makes SUPRO TEX stand out in the plant-based space is for the first time, meat alternative manufacturers can make tender, plant-based protein, whole muscle pieces or chunks without the need for major capital investments or a refrigerated supply chain.” Michel Mellema, global innovation director, IFF’s RE-IMAGINE PROTEIN program
Texturants are added to soy protein during the extrusion process
So how has this been achieved?
According to Nishiyama, IFF has developed a patent-pending process in which undisclosed texturants are added to soy protein during the extrusion process to provide “integrated texturing properties” such that the final product, when hydrated at a customer’s facility, has improved firmness and texture comparable to a pricier high-moisture extrusion product.
“Low-moisture extruded products typically will lead to more rubbery, spongy textures," said Nishiyama. "Plus, their structure is not able to retain their texture during manufacturing; they break apart when in a tumbler or simmering. Adding egg white can help the texture when using low moisture extrusion products, but it is not desirable in plant-based products."
No egg white, no gluten
She added: “SUPRO TEX avoids this and also doesn’t contain gluten, which is an ingredient commonly used in low moisture extrusion for its contribution to the texture, but sometimes it’s not desired by some consumers and manufacturers.”
As customers add their own flavors and colors during the product hydration process in order to make everything from beef bourguignon to chicken stir fry or pork fajitas, she said, they are better distributed throughout the product.
“When flavors are added during the hydration process, they get evenly absorbed and distributed inside the pieces, giving a very good taste experience just to complement the nice texture.
“This is different from high moisture extrusion, which is already hydrated, so when manufacturers add flavors, they stay more on the surface and don’t get inside the pieces so evenly.”