Bridging the Gap between Sensorial & Nutritional Aspects in Plant-based Meat Substitutes

Solina, a leading global partner in customized ingredient solutions towards the savory food industry, is partnering with Bridge2Food for the first time to promote its Nextera® expertise in helping food brands and processors to create the new generation of protein foods. Moritz Kiesswetter, Category Manager for NEXTERA® will be tackling the subject of “Balancing Sensorial & Nutritional Aspects in Plant-based Meat Substitutes” at the Exhibition Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Europe (8-9 June).

What can you tell us about the content of your presentation?

In the presentation, I’ll be taking the audience along for a behind-the-scenes tour into our NEXTERA® culinary kitchen and dedicated pilot plant.

Together we’ll find out all about Solina’s expertise in creating tailor-made taste, functional & nutritional ingredient solutions for clients around the globe. And, how the combination of this know-how with NEXTERA®’s research-driven approach and independence from ingredient & technology suppliers is crucial in making Nextera® the end-to-end partner to create the next generation of protein foods. Meaning: plant-based meat substitutes which manage to elevate the taste to the level of the meat standard, and which also have that all-important meaty bite & texture – thanks to our class-leading know-how on fibrillation technologies. All of which of course without losing track of the evenly necessary properties on health and sustainability.

During the presentation, I’ll be joined by one of our NEXTERA® application technologists, and together we’ll look at a number of culinary applications – to demonstrate in a hands-on way how we apply Solina’s broad expertise and local anchoring as well as different processing & extrusion technologies to really arrive at a requirements-meeting solution together with the client.

What is the main challenge that the plant-based protein market is facing and how can NEXTERA® help?

First off, despite following the plant-based market for quite some time, I remain impressed by this fast-paced, ever-evolving category and its very positive outlook and challenges.

Where even two years ago, attracting buyers into the category would have been the main challenge in most geographies, meat substitutes have broken through into the mainstream since then. Consequently, creating momentum & interest for trial are no longer the first issue.

Instead, the problem that’s manifesting itself more & more clearly is one that’s closer to the meat category – namely creating the perfect balance between sensorial & nutritional properties: From consumer research, we know that health is the #1 driver for the trial of plant-based foods, and taste is the #1 driver for repurchase. However, only 30% of consumers agree that the taste of plant-based meat substitutes is on the same level as animal-based meat.

And that’s exactly the gap we want to close: by combining Solina’s industry-leading expertise on culinary & functional ingredient solutions with NEXTERA®’s encompassing RD&A approach and independent advice on ingredients & suiting (extrusion) technology, we help customers create the optimal end application: balancing meat-like taste & texture with the advantageous nutritional profiles of plant-based proteins, made possible by fit-for-purpose, tailormade solutions resulting in the perfect fit between protein bases and culinary, functional and nutritional ingredients.

How can Nextera® guide its partners to create new protein food concepts and how do your local culinary kitchens contribute to achieving this goal?

Food and taste are by definition locally & culturally rooted. This conviction is on the basis of everything that we do at Solina & at NEXTERA®. Therefore, we approach each customer project from a consumer- & local-first point of view. By pairing colleagues from Nextera®’s global research center with dedicated, local RD&A specialists and Solina culinary chefs, we are able to fully comprehend the individual background of a customer briefing and are able to constructively challenge & finetune it with the customer. In this way, together we arrive at a fully tailormade proposition, based on local & global consumer- and market understanding.

Next to this, there is great wisdom in the saying that “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, which is certainly also the case for plant-based foods. That’s why we rely on dedicated application specialists, working both from our dedicated NEXTERA® research center as well as locally, instead of stopping at a general idea of a final application based on pre-made building blocks. Rather, we stay at the customer’s side up until the 100% finished & launched product, and assist by combining our RD&A expertise on fully integrated solutions with the gastro-cultural rooting of our culinary chefs across local markets.

Having many years of knowledge and leadership in meat, how do you see the meat substitutes market evolving in the 5 next years?

Shaped by the underlying growth drivers of health, sustainability, and animal welfare & the growing influence of younger generations, we are sure to see the steep growth in the number of flexitarians continue for years to come, and thus for meat-substitutes to gain even stronger mainstream appeal.

Next to this, and based on our own market understanding, as well as inspired by thought-leading research by – among others –  the Boston Consulting Group, at NEXTERA® we are convinced that this mainstream appeal will be further aided by the ongoing technological advances in meat-substitutes, which will inevitably translate into sensorial & nutritional improvements over the next 5 years, and beyond.

For sensorial improvements, think of the enhanced meat-like texture and bite of the newest generation of fibrillated proteins. Nutritional improvements will be market-driven, with demand for & amount of launches of Nutri-Score from C to E or higher already going down drastically compared to even last year. Of course, the value equation of plant-based meat-substitutes will also be positively affected by these technological advances, and thus cause price parity with animal-based meat on an increasing range of meat substitutes.

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About the Speaker

Moritz Kiesswetter is Category Manager for NEXTERA® with a background in consumer & market research, and experience at an international level in both retail & foodservice. Moritz holds a Master´s degree in Marketing Management and he is passionate about plant-based food.


NEXTERA® by Solina is Gold Partner for the Exhibition Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Europe, 8-9 June. Meet the NEXTERA® experts at their own booth and know more about their solutions!

Unique Business Development & Networking!

Don’t miss out on the Exhibition Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Europe, 8-9 June, and connect with the value chain including retailers, foodservice professionals, food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, and other services providers such as packaging, market, and brand agencies!

Target audience: Retail, Food Service, Food Brands, Ingredient Suppliers, VC’s, Startups, Processing Technologies, Universities & Research Institutes




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