Improving the fat taste in plant-based meat

Wednesday, 17 June, 2020

Improving the fat taste in plant-based meat

Ingredient innovation company Motif Foodworks has announced an exclusive research collaboration and licence option with the University of Guelph in Ontario, and Dr Alejandro Marangoni, Tier I Canada Research Chair in Food, Health and Aging at Guelph. Under this collaboration, Motif will evaluate novel technologies for formulating lipids and fibre-forming ingredients in plant-based meats and dairy products that could enable taste and texture improvements in these categories.

Food producers have previously relied on existing ingredients such as coconut oil to replicate the sensory experience of animal-derived fats, but current solutions do not taste, cook or interact with other ingredients like animal fats do. Motif Foodworks and its collaborators are working to close gaps in taste, texture and appearance to create plant-based foods that appeal to consumers.

Over a 12-month period, Motif will assess a set of technologies that aim to improve animal-free fats to make plant-based burgers, sausages and cheese more delicious. This includes replacing saturated fat with an animal-free emulsion system that exhibits the physical properties of saturated fat at room temperature and replicating critical animal fat structures, such as the pockets of fat in meat products that produce marbling. Motif will also assess technologies that aim to improve the texture of plant-based cheeses to be more meltable and elastic.

“Creating the right kind of fat structures in plant-based foods is one of the most significant — and exciting — challenges in the category because fat plays such a critical role in what makes some of our favourite food experiences so satisfying,” said Mike Leonard, CTO at Motif Foodworks.

Under the exclusive evaluation period with the University of Guelph and Marangoni, Motif can exercise options to acquire or license these technologies. Stefan Baier, Motif’s Head of Food Science, and Dilek Uzunalioglu, Motif’s Head of Applications, will evaluate the performance of these technologies across various food platforms, including plant-based meat and cheese.

“Understanding how to properly structure fat in plant-based food is mission critical for the food industry. We are excited to work alongside Motif to determine how some of the newest and most exciting technologies will work in new food products to improve the sensory experience of plant-based meat and dairy on a broader scale,” Marangoni said.

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