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6th August 2021  Content supplied by: IDTechEx

IDTechEx Releases New in-Depth Report on the Alternative Meat Industry


When they first appeared on the market, plant-based meat alternatives were targeted at vegetarians and vegans, who may be happy to sacrifice product quality for ethical reasons. 

However, to truly make an impact on global meat consumption and access the huge market opportunity that comes with it, plant-based meat producers must target the 95% of consumers who do eat meat, with plant-based products that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

These consumers are increasingly looking to reduce meat consumption for health and sustainability reasons but are less likely to compromise on product quality. 

Plant-Based Meat 2021-2031,” a new report from IDTechEx, provides an in-depth technical evaluation of the plant-based meat industry, the consumer and market factors that will shape it and a 10-year market forecasts for the future of the plant-based meat industry.

Genetic engineering
Genetic engineering has great potential for producing animal-free proteins usually derived from animals.

Impossible Foods uses genetically engineered yeast to produce soy leghemoglobin, a key ingredient that makes its burgers “bleed” like traditional meat.

Perfect Day is using recombinant technology to insert DNA sequences into yeast, bacteria, and fungi, to produce casein and whey.

Clara Foods is taking a similar route, using genetically engineered yeast to produce vegan egg white proteins. 

Other genetic engineering technologies such as CRISPR and TALEN could help create optimized crops with increased protein content, fewer off-flavors, or boosted nutritional profiles. So far, the industry has barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved through genetic engineering. 

Ingredient development
Most plant-based meat products rely on soy, pea, and wheat, leaving all remaining crops comparatively unexplored.

Given the hundreds of thousands of plant proteins in nature, it is likely that any property of animal-derived proteins can be recreated almost exactly with plant-based alternatives. Several companies are leveraging this great variety.

Eat Just screens plant proteins with thermal stability, binding, browning ability, and flavor, that can suit different types of foods. For example, sorghum is used as a base for the company’s cookie dough substitutes, and Canadian yellow pea for its JUST Mayo product line. The company’s JUST Egg product line is based on mung bean protein, which allows the final product to gel at the same temperature as a regular egg. 

Chilean start-up NotCo uses an AI algorithm called Giuseppe to find optimal combinations of plant products to replicate the taste and texture of animal products. Using this approach, the company has released NotMayo and NotMilk, analogs of mayonnaise and milk, respectively. The company also recently debuted the NotBurger hamburger substitute at Burger King and Papa John’s restaurants in Chile.

3D printing and fermentation
Start-ups like Redefine Meat and NovaMeat are exploring the use of 3D printing to create structured plant-based meat products. 3D printing enables the creation of pieces of meat with intricate shapes and textures, steak marbling, or defined areas of fat and muscle. Although rapid, scalable, cost-effective 3D printing technology is likely a long way off for the food industry, Redefine Meat and NovaMeat are confident that it can be used to successfully create consumer products.

Atlast Food Co. and Meati are exploring the use of mycelia to create meat analogs. Unlike mycoprotein, mycelia are multicellular and can grow into macro-size structures – which we most often recognize as mushrooms. Mycelia can be quick, cheap, and easy to grow, only requiring sugars and water as main inputs, with a low carbon footprint. Because of their naturally fibrous structure, mycelia have the potential to create analogs of structured meat, with the fibrous structure resembling the fibrous texture of steaks, chicken breasts, etc. 

Atlast Food Co. grows large slabs of mycelia that can be cut and shaped into meat-like products, such as the company’s inaugural MyBacon product, while Meati uses mycelia to create vegan “steaks”.

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Date Published: 6th August 2021

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