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Think Beyond Meat: Getting It Right with Meat Analogs and Alternatives

Think Beyond Meat Blendtek Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

Growth of plant-based protein and meat alternatives is on the rise and is expected to grow at 14% annually by 2024—with plants being predicted to make up for 1/3 of the Canadian protein market. It’s no secret that it pays to play in the plant-based industry.

The plant-based movement shows no sign of slowing down, according to a recent study by Dalhousie University. In line with growth trends, this study revealed that 1 in 5 Canadians are looking to reduce or eliminate meat consumption—creating new opportunities for the food industry to keep up with the overwhelming demand for plant-based alternatives. Around the world, the selection and availability of plant-based options are getting prime real-estate on grocery shelves.

How to Stand Out

Of course, with industry working hard to stay top of the trend, it’s no longer enough to just offer a plant-based alternative. In 2020, it will be more important than ever that your meat analogs and alternatives meet these key factors, in order to stand out on the shelves:

Cut the Salt

Most consumers consider plant-based meat alternatives healthier than their meat counterparts. Though they may be lower in cholesterol or more sustainably produced, often times they are higher in salt and fat. Why? Because at the end of the day – taste is king.

In the quest to make delicious meat analogs and alternatives, manufacturers often up the salt to enhance the flavour. There are a few ways to reduce sodium content in your plant-based products, without compromising flavour:

Make a smart substitution: Trade out sodium chloride for potassium chloride.

Just add vinegar: Vinegar powders can be used in some applications to accentuate the flavour of other ingredients without significant contribution to the sodium content.

Spice it up: Include ingredients like ground white pepper, paprika, ground fennel or star anise to round out the flavours.

Let’s work together to identify the best ingredient solution for your product line.

Keep it Simple

It’s also important to evaluate your ingredient deck. Finding ingredients that are label-friendly, in favour of flavour, and enhance texture are key. However, sometimes just as important as the type of ingredient, is the number of ingredients listed on your packaging.

Conventional meatless analogs tend to have a lot of ingredients in order to create a full flavour profile. Up and coming brands are working to create high-protein meat analogs with minimal ingredients.

If working with a select few ingredients, it becomes all the more important to choose nutrient-dense ingredients that pack a punch flavour-wise.

Let’s talk about which plant-based ingredients are best suited for you.

Be Curious

Consumer demand is challenging us to get creative in developing plant-based options—now more than ever, they are curious to try new foods. Paying attention to flavour, prioritizing a short ingredient deck, and maintaining a strong nutrient profile are just a few ways our team helps customers stay relevant and on the shelves.

Ask Blendtek about other solutions that will drive your plant-based products to consumers.

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1 https://nrc.canada.ca/en/research-development/research-collaboration/programs/plant-based-protein-market-global-canadian-market-analysis