MANE study finds link between ingredients & sensory features of plant-based burgers

After more than 12 months of research, MANE establishes the correlation between the ingredients used to make plant-based burgers and the resulting sensory features, allowing its food-product designers to precisely adjust their formulas in order to be as close as possible to a beef-based burger.

MANE sensory studyA robust Design of Experiment

In order to make these links, MANE constructed a solid Design of Experiment which changed a variety of factors. Different experiences were conducted in order to determine how the sensory features (e.g., taste, texture, etc.) of a plant-based burger were impacted by the ingredients used in the formula (e.g., fibres, starches, textured proteins, etc.)

More than 20 contributors from various areas of expertise helped to establish and carry out this DoE, including flavourists, food scientists, sensory experts and chemists.

More precisely, this Design of Experiment sought to demonstrate which factors positively influence the juiciness, elasticity and fatty texture. It also wanted to understand how to minimise the firmness, fragility, stickiness, off-notes (e.g., beany, cereal, fattiness, etc.) and bitterness of the end- product while applying variations to the ingredients used.

The sensory features (e.g., juiciness, firmness, elasticity, etc.) were evaluated by a panel of 12 experts trained in assessing meat substitutes.

Results applicable as of now

The Design of Experiment has therefore helped to establish that several factors influence – either positively or negatively – the sensory features of the end-product. In contrast, some factors do not have any influence at all.

For instance, one of the findings of this survey demonstrates that the impact of fibres is determined by the type of fibres used. Correlations were also established between certain factors, such as the fatty sensation reduces the perceived bitterness.

The analysed results were then communicated to the developers who are now able to adjust their formulas in accordance with customers’ specific requirements. For example, they have full knowledge of the ingredients required to add more juiciness to the end-product.

MANE, pioneer of the plant-based segment

MANE has been using plant proteins in its formulations and developing vegan and vegetarian end-products across the sweet and savoury markets since the 1980s.

With this survey, MANE fully intends to maintain its expertise and get a head start in the trendy meat alternative segment. Thanks to these initial results, it is now possible for the company to work alongside its partners and develop tailored formulations based on their precise specifications for the sensory features of the end-product.

New results from ongoing studies are expected such as studies on extrusion and its consequences on flavour stability (both in dry and wet environments; in pre- and/or post-extrusion), the role of fat in mouthfeel and juiciness perceptions, the choice of colouring agents to ensure visually appealing products as well as the development of process flavours, flavouring preparations and culinary bases specially adapted to plant-based applications.

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