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Plant-based hybrids developed from sunflower side-streams: Sensory properties are fundamental to alt meat acceptance

Sunflower press cake is whats left from the sunflower kernel after oil pressing.

As sunflower may be the third largest oil seed source globally, a substantial quantity of sunflower cake is produced annually. In accordance with 2017 data, 19m metric a great deal of sunflower cake was produced as a side stream from the oil extraction process.

Generally, oil press cake is downcycled into livestock feed or discarded. However, sunflower press cake is really a protein-rich ingredient with the potential, in accordance with researchers, to be upcycled into food instead.

Our food system is certainly going via an unprecedented crisis and there’s a straight higher threat of global food insecurity in comparison to 2-3 years back. Therefore, we should efficiently utilise existing plant-based side-streams as high-value protein ingredients for food, in accordance with Nesli Szer, Research Professor at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Szer is heading up a fresh EIT-Food funded research study coined Taste2Meat as well as DSM, DIL German Institute of Food Technologies, University of Helsinki, and ABP Beef, targeted at utilising sunflower press-cakes as a protein ingredient for sustainable and tasty meat alternatives.

The Taste2Meat project plays a part in a zero-waste and sustainable food system by upcycling sunflower press-cake as a protein ingredient and designing both hybrid (meat and plant protein) and solely plant protein-based tasty meat options for European consumers, explained Szer.

The researchers use wet extrusion technology to generate chicken-like or beef-like textures. When coupled with pea and rapeseed proteins, the researchers believe plant-based meat alternatives could be developed with a desired organoleptic profile.

Attractive to flexitarian consumers is another focus of the project.

The trend for reducing meat consumption towards plant-based alternatives is really a growing one. In accordance with Euromonitors Health insurance and Nutrition Survey, 42% of global consumers reported avoiding certain animal-based products in 2021.

We have been especially thinking about the rising amount of flexitarians, who integrate plant-based products within their diet but consume mainly meat products, said Szer.

Because of this audience, a hybrid solution blending meat with plant-based protein may appeal. Tasty meat alternatives and hybrids create home based business opportunities and enable a smooth transition for folks to increase the quantity of plant-based ingredients within their diet.

Another goal of the project would be to ensure that in case a sunflower cake protein-based product would go to market, consumers will undoubtedly be willing to check it out. Consumer studies will undoubtedly be conducted to analyse European shoppers perceptions and attitudes towards meat alternatives.

Consumer acceptance includes a key role in the development of feasible business cases around meat alternatives, said Szer. Sensory properties such as for example taste and meat-like texture will be the most influential predictors of meat alternative acceptance.

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