Colour Aesthetics of Plant-Based Beef Alternatives

A growing interest in plant-based alternatives

In today’s ever-changing market, brands innovating to meet new demands seem to resonate strongly amongst consumers. One category that is pushing the boundaries of R&D is plant-based and vegan meat alternatives in an ever increasing variety of shapes, forms, and protein sources. Although the concept of a vegetarian diet is not new, during the last few years consumers have shown a growing interest in plant-based offers as they take a more moderate approach when it comes to meat consumption.

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The growing demand for plant-based alternatives is not only supported by vegetarian or vegan diets, but a large target group of flexitarians including more vegetables and less meat in their diets as well. While the reasons to turn to a more plant-based diet vary, it remains fact that the global rise of plant-based eating is shaping and leading innovation in the food industry worldwide.

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Plant-based meat without compromise

Many food scientists working on plant-based meat alternatives are tasked with creating a new vegetarian or vegan product that looks, tastes, and smells just like its meaty equivalent. From the many different types of plant-based analogues and meat substitutes, burger alternatives seem to receive the most attention recently. One way to help plant-based burgers imitate the appearance of actual ground beef and maintain a simple, clean and vegan ingredient list is using colours from botanical sources. When it comes to colour, the approach can differ based on aesthetic goals and the pH environment. For example:

The Medium Well to Well-Done Plant-Based Burger


Obtain a colour to emulate the Maillard effect (browning) of cooked meat


Pre-cook red patty, but browned meat and juices post-cook


Red natural colours and colouring foods dependent on pH


Brown fruit juices like Natural Brown™


With the industry’s strides in natural colour extraction techniques and innovative technologies, achieving the desired appearance of actual beef in plant-based alternatives should not involve any compromise. If you want to formulate immediately for your meat analogue project, request a sample of our natural, heat-stabilized red solution specifically designed to colour plant-based meat alternatives today.

If you have meat-analogue related topics, or would like to discuss specific projects with us, where you would like some assistance, please reach out anytime. We love to talk colour!

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