Meat substitute products replicate animal-based protein sources. In recent years, plant-based alternatives to meat have increased in popularity among consumers. For example, “Meatless Mondays” have become popular, sustainable or “green” foods are becoming more popular, and there is a growing trend of vegans, vegetarians, and even “flexitarians” — consumers who enjoy meat but occasionally opt for vegetarian or vegan foods. As a result of this increased consumer demand, meat substitutes have improved in both taste and texture.
Consumers around the world are actively looking for more protein-rich food products, including a surging interest in alternative protein sources or “meat substitutes.” This trend has been called the “protein boom” and while the European marketplace is currently leading the trend, the United States is not far behind.
Currently, the main protein sources for meat substitutes are soy, wheat, rice, and beans. Examples include tofu, soy, veggie or black bean burgers.
Without colour added these products tend to be gray, beige or tan. Hence, the need for colouring is critical to provide consumers with a complete sensory experience. Product colour may mimic cooked meat, chicken or turkey. Extrusion and further heat stability determine colouring selection. To overcome grayness, food manufacturers choose caramel colour for brown hues and turmeric for yellow hues.
DDW’s caramelized apple and onion products can serve as meat extenders or replacers. Says DDW Application Scientist Jennifer Brown: “Caramelized apple and onion are great for vegan applications, as well as clean label products where flavor enhancers could be as issue for some consumers.”
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a meat substitute derived from soy or other oilseed sources. In dry, extruded form, the protein content is about 50% for use as a meat substitute or extender.
Uncoloured Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) appears gray. Soy processors add a combination of Class III or IV caramel colour and red colouring to create visual appeal in convenience foods. DDW’s Caramelized Onion may enhance the flavor and colour of TVP.