Sensory Solutions for Plant-Based Meat Analogues
Say Aloe to the Plant-Based Meat Revolution
It seems every day brings a new article on the motivations and progress of the plant-based meat analogue market.
Saying “everyone is doing it” would inevitably be a logical fallacy, but there are a great deal of companies that are investing and innovating in this space to convince me otherwise.
Whether motivated by dietary lifestyle, environmental sustainability, health aspirations or animal welfare, half of meat alternative buyers ate MORE meat alternatives in the past year and nearly 40% ate LESS animal meat (Numerator, 2019). Consumer demand not only continues to fuel growth in this category, but also the ability to patent meat substitute products makes the category highly attractive to investors.
However, the sensory component of developing visually appealing and great tasting meat analogues with acceptable mouthfeel presents a potential barrier to enter this market—these are highly technical and challenging products for food scientists.
Lettuce Innovate Simply without Compromise
For many R&D working on plant-based meat analogue products, the task at hand is creating an alternative that looks, tastes, and smells just like the real thing. “The goal for Impossible Foods was to have an uncompromisingly delicious meat without using animals,” said founder, Patrick Brown. Collaborating with ingredient suppliers like Sensient who have extensive experience in creating turn-key, natural sensory solutions that are compatible and stable offers a huge technical advantage to both small and large companies innovating in the plant-based meat space.
In order for product developers to give their end consumers a delicious, plant-based meat experience without sacrifice, it’s important to understand how consumers arrive at the decision of deliciousness. While 52% of consumers indicate taste as a key driver of purchase intent, it’s actually more important for repeat purchases (Mintel, 2019). Visual appeal is what’s critical for initial purchase, because consumers first eat with their eyes, and then move onto the other senses like smell, taste, and mouthfeel.
In fact, ingredients like natural beef flavor or natural griddled bacon flavor are not as simple as the way they “taste”, because other senses like sight can dominate consumers’ interpretation of “taste”, especially when the product does not “look” like how it should “taste”.
Understanding this relationship between the senses and how ingredients like natural flavors, colors, and taste technologies all work hand-in-hand to help consumers arrive at the decision of “delicious taste” is very important knowledge for product developers of any category, especially plant-based meats trying to mimic the experience of animal protein.
A Holistic Solutions Approach to Plant-Based Meat Development
Sensient approaches sensory solutions for plant-based meat analogues as a consumer would experience the product, starting with their eyes.
Brocc N’ Roll with Turn-Key-Sensory Solutions
Rather than a fragmentary approach to color and taste solutions for plant-based meat analogues, leverage Sensient’s robust suite of high-performing, natural sensory solutions for a holistic solution. Collaborating with a comprehensive sensory solution supplier like Sensient who has extensive experience in managing the compatibility and stability of complex botanical ingredient systems of natural color and flavor technologies can streamline formulation development by mitigating chances of reformulations due to ingredient interactions.
Our comprehensive development approach empowers product developers to give their consumers a delicious plant-based meat experience without any sacrifice on visual, smell, taste, and mouthfeel.
Ready to begin? Schedule an ideation session to launch our discovery together!