Next-gen plant based: Delicious and futuristic – digital magazine

Plant-based food is a rapidly growing market, but it faces the formidable challenge of replicating the taste and texture of animal-based products. With consumers especially critical of the texture of plant-derived meats and dairy alternatives, food formulators using new technologies and unique production processes are bringing a decidedly modern perspective to the current meatless matrix available to consumers.

June 17, 2024

3 Min Read
Next-gen plant based: Delicious and futuristic

Plant-forward food is likely to include many of the more sophisticated ingredients and technologies emerging and under development today. The new plant-based promise centers on products that are indistinguishable from animal-based products in terms of taste, texture and nutrition.

Key to fulfilling that guarantee is progress in the development of plant-origin fats. Food scientists are working on several solutions to improve them, including blending different plant-based fats together to achieve a desired texture, using new emulsion technologies and microstructuring to create fats with better functionality, and creating animal fat alternatives that are identical to animal fat on a molecular level.

Add in the new capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence (AI), and the landscape for meatless options is truly coming into modern focus. Hone your vision of it by downloading this free digital magazine. The articles include:

Viewpoint: Startups push plant-based to new levels

Companies like AQUA and Nature’s Fynd are creating realistic and functional animal-free alternatives using novel technologies. In this case, the results are fish-free tuna and scallops, and high-protein fungi yogurt with fiber, respectively. Content Director Audarshia Townsend found these two standout options at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago, and she explains why it’s not enough for brands to be innovative with technology. They must also create products that serve a purpose and are truly functional.

Delicious, next-gen journeys in the formulation of plant-derived foods

Many meatless alternatives rely on imitation and heavily processed ingredients; however, innovative formulators are turning to whole foods, strategic layering of ingredients and minimal processing as another option. Cindy Hazen describes the importance of selecting a clean protein base, and why choosing a neutral-tasting plant protein is crucial to avoid the need for excessive flavor masking.

Slicker than most: Oil innovation makes plant-based even better

New technological developments are showing promise for overcoming the limitations of animal-free fats and oils, as combinations of oils containing coconut, palm and sunflower are also providing more complete fat profiles. Kimberly J. Decker dives deep into the reasons why plant fats differ in structure and function from animal fats, making it difficult to perfectly mimic the taste and texture of meat and dairy products.

AI, 3D printing primed to power meatless modernization

The future of plant-focused nutrition is unfolding right now. Leading companies are using technology to create products that meet high standards of sustainability, taste and nutrition — all while being able to scale up quickly. Nick Collias shares how 3D printing is a perfect fit for meat and fish analogues, like salmon fillets in particular, and how AI is changing the way market and consumer data is collected and analyzed.

Founders behind Prime Roots, Shicken, Nuts for Cheese discuss challenges, future of plant-forward foods

Despite the market’s growth, replicating the taste and texture of animal products is still challenging. Some solutions include using the Japanese fungus koji, creating realistic chicken substitutes and utilizing fermentation. The topics taken up in this Q&A coordinated by Melissa Kvidahl Reilly include making use of clean, wholesome and sustainable ingredients, and investing in new packaging technologies to improve shelf-life time.

Examples of next-gen plant-based trend takeaways for your business include:

  • The global plant-based food market is projected to reach $77.8 billion in 2025, with that number anticipated to more than double by 2030, according to Statista.

  • The choice of fat in an analogue is equally important both from a flavor and an oxidative perspective. Fat oxidation leads to off-flavors and some fats are more prone to oxidation than others.

  • In nondairy frozen desserts and novelties, high-melt-point oils that heavily coat the mouth, increase product firmness out of the freezer and hamper flavor release are no-go’s, according to leading formulators.

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