The evolution of a plant-based alternative to meat - from niche markets to widely accepted meat alternatives
Plant-based alternatives to meat are a growing market segment. The European LikeMeat project investigated consumers' motivation for shifting their diets towards meat alternatives and developed a meat alternative product that resembles the fibrous structure, bite and juicy mouth-feel of meat. In a high moisture cooking extrusion process, plant proteins are converted to a base product that has a meat-like structure. Various protein sources and their combinations with further food ingredients were tested to develop this base product, including the creation of flavour components and the addition of aroma ingredients and spices. Furthermore, focus was put on the microbiota. Microbiota were analysed in raw materials as were their inactivation rates during the cooking extrusion process and their potential growth in the refined and packed food product. The LikeMeat base product serves as the base for a wide range of food preparations.