True Colors to Reflect the Great Taste of your Meat-free Products

Elaine Lee, UK based Applications Manager for Lycored, and Jose Acosta, US Global Applications Manager will be presenting two interesting talks: “Meat Free Innovations: True Colors to Reflect the Great Taste of your Meat-free Products” and “How Value-Added Stability Studies by Lycored will set you up for success, Creating Enticing Plant-based Meat Alternatives” at the Virtual Exhibition Plant-Based Foods Value Chain Americas 2021, April 13-14 2021, 9.00 am- 5.30 pm CST (Chicago Time).

Elaine Lee and Jose Acosta will discuss ways in which color can create an opportunity for competitive advantage in plant-based meat formats.

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

Lycored is a global leader in lycopene-based color and taste-enhancing ingredients for food and beverages and we have recently completed several detailed color stability studies focused on plant-based meat alternatives. The presentation content will focus on sharing many of the key learnings that will help producers optimize the visual impact of their product, the shelf-life, and the consumer experience of the product.

Since global consumption of plant-based foods is growing, especially meat-free alternatives, what are the main challenges for food designers?

One key challenge area for food designers is creating appeal for the consumer base who are simply reducing meat intake. This includes taste, texture, and nutrition for palatability. Color and visual attractiveness are key as well given they help to drive purchase intent and repeat purchase.

Alternative protein startups are innovating across the meatless ecosystem. Given rising consumer interest and pandemic-caused meat plant shutdowns, more start-ups are innovating in the meatless space. They are not only competing with prepared and frozen meats but also exploring other methods of incorporating non-meat proteins into diets, with snacks (such as Beyond the Shoreline‘s kelp jerky) or meal substitutes.

Lycored recently conducted two stability studies, what were the main results/findings?

The studies found that the range of super-stable colors from yellow to pink to red can withstand the rigors of processing and deliver authentic meat-like coloration with long-lasting stability in plant-based meat alternatives.

Focusing on plant-based deli ham slices and sausage-style encased meats, Lycored’s scientists put their portfolio of all-natural, lycopene-based colors to the test by comparing them to two industry-standard color alternatives: beet and iron oxide.

Lycored has the expertise and capabilities to conduct shelf-life stability studies with value-added insights to support product development.

Highlights of Lycored’s studies revealed:
For both deli-meals such as ham or poultry slices and frankfurter sausages, Lycored’s red shades from lycopene outperformed beet and iron oxide relative to process stability and authentic, appetizing hues.
Real-time and accelerated shelf-life tests proved the color stability of ham slices to meet standard shelf life and even go beyond.
Lycopene-based colors used in sausages provided a range of colors with an authentic appearance before and after cooking.
Lycored’s colors are freeze-thaw stable and can withstand harsh temperatures and processing conditions.
Lycored’s colors did not fade or brown, despite all the rigors of the testing conditions and even after the typical two months shelf life. This means manufacturers can
showcase their products to consumers using product windows and cut down on the use of packaging sleeves.
Global consumption of plant-based foods is growing, especially meat-free alternatives designed to look and taste like foods in segments like deli ham and sausages. As part of these new dietary trends, people are increasingly searching for alternatives to meat in their traditional diets and this includes a growing number of so-called meat reducers or ‘flexitarian’ consumers.

To appeal to the masses, plant-based meats must be clean label yet look, feel and taste just like the real thing, before and after cooking. This is challenging for food engineers to find color ingredients that can handle the processing conditions for plant-based protein substitutes.

Lycored’s lycopene-based colors are a natural first choice for many of today’s most popular meat substitutes,” notes Acosta, concluding: “Plant-based meat alternatives are vying for the top of the vegetarian product food chain, but they can’t get there unless ingredients are clean, able to withstand intensive processing and assure color stays true through the shelf life.

Lycored’s broad range of hues provides a far-reaching palette that makes it easy for food manufacturers to find the intensity and color they need to meet tough stability criteria.

Superior colors stability to heat & light

To learn more, visit 


About the Speakers 

Elaine Lee has worked in the food & beverage industry for more than 30 years after achieving her BSc in Food Science from Reading University in the UK. Elaine started her career in the dairy industry, managing the quality control department for the manufacture of cream, milk, and juices at Abbott’s Dairies.

Following this Elaine moved to the beverage industry where she set up the quality, R & D, and technical divisions at Silver Spring Soft Drinks and managed the introduction of new products for major brands and retailers.

Elaine has been working with Lycored for over 8 years as Application Manager, heading up the applications laboratory in the UK, supporting customers globally with application projects, and leading key application studies for Lycored colors in applications such as beverages, surimi seafood, and plant-based meat applications including sliced meats and sausages.

Jose Acosta holds a Bachelor Science of Biochemical Engineering and Business Administration education from Polytechnic Institute & Concordia University (Montreal Canada); with over 18 years of R&D experience for both B2B and CPG companies such as The Coca Cola Co, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo- Quarter and Dr. Oetker, Jose’s broad category exposure from beverages, salad dressing, gluten-free products, pizza, breakfast bars & bakery; his added value perspective brings R&D expertise from Idea concept into go-to-market commercialization approaches.

Jose Acosta joined Lycored Corp and the Food Business Unit as Global Application Manager.  In this role, Jose leads the application team while also being the focal point for North American application support to the commercial organization.

Jose plays a key role in the food business unit’s go-to-market prioritization to ensure a healthy project pipeline that aligns with the growth strategy while driving global-local business development efforts as well as managing the global applications team. 


Lycored is Gold Partner for the Virtual Exhibition Plant-Based Foods Value Chain Americas, 13-14 April, 9.00 am to 5.30 pm CST – Chicago Time. Meet the Lycored team at their own booth and know more about their latest products and technologies!
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