Overcoming Formulation Challenges in the Meat Alternatives Market

Declan Rooney, Strategic Marketing Manager – Savoury & Plant Alternatives, at Ingredion, will be presenting an interesting talk on how to address consumer demands in meat alternatives and formulate new meat alternatives with textured pea and faba bean proteins at the Exhibition Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Europe (8-9 June). Declan tells us a little bit more about his presentation and shares his thoughts on the meat alternative market, on how Ingredion can help overcome formulation challenges and on the latest innovations in this field.

Can you share a summary of your presentation at B2F Plant-Based Virtual Exhibition?

Ingredion has launched its Plant Possible campaign focused on the meat alternatives and dairy alternatives market in Europe. The campaign is supported with consumer trends and insights, and how Ingredion’s broad ingredient portfolio can help manufacturers meet consumer demands for nutritious, tasty plant-based foods.

We will be sharing some of these proprietary meat alternative consumer insights, from ingredient consumer preferences to identifying gaps in the market.

Our solutions for plant-based foods are expanding with our recent launch of VITESSENCE(R) TEX, a range of textured pea and faba bean proteins. During the presentation, we will take you virtually into our Hamburg Ideas Lab where our chef will show an example of how to formulate plant-based meat alternatives with this new range of plant proteins. We’ve been working hard on a broad range of recipes and are very excited to introduce this range to you at the B2F virtual exhibition.

Over the last few years, the demand for plant-based has boomed – why do you believe this? And how has it been affected by Covid?

The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the popularity of plant-based alternatives which may be due to meat shortages and concerns about meat safety, in addition to consumers having a greater focus on their health and the environment during this period.

In April 2020, Ingredion conducted a consumer study on the meat alternatives market in Europe. It revealed that 17% of participants purchased a meat alternative for the first time from March to April. Whereas, during the two months prior to this, only 10% of participants had purchased an alternative for the first time.

While the vegan and vegetarian markets have historically been niche categories, it is the rapidly growing flexitarian segment – a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish – that is driving the evolution of plant-based products.

How is the meat alternatives category evolving and where are the opportunities for growth? 

The meat alternatives category has been one of the most innovative in recent years. Red meat plant-based products such as sausage, burger, or mince formats have been the most active and the most popular products for consumers today.

However, it’s clear there are more opportunities in the poultry and fish alternatives space. In a recent Ingredion consumer study, we found flexitarians mostly eat poultry and fish products when they want a meat/fish meal, and they are demanding more alternatives to these products.

Lastly, consumers are scrutinising the product labels more often whether it’s the ingredient list or nutritional declarations. Consumers want cleaner labels with ingredients they recognise.

In what ways does Ingredion help overcome formulation challenges in the meat alternatives?

When it comes to formulating a plant-based product there four main challenges food manufacturers face: creating a consumer-preferred eating experience, keeping labels clean, ensuring nutrition, and getting their manufacturing process right.

Vegan alternatives often feature lengthy ingredient lists with potential allergens like soy, gluten, and nuts. The average number of ingredients remains constant at 21.

With clean labels also at the forefront of consumers’ minds, manufacturers are presented with the challenge of formulating plant-based products that replicate the taste and texture of traditional products while delivering nutritionally rich recipes with short, recognisable ingredient lists that consumers trust.

The expectation for meat and dairy alternatives is to have the same protein content as their animal protein containing counterparts. The protein range of Ingredion, which includes high protein pea isolate, 65% protein textured proteins, as well as pea, faba bean, and lentil protein concentrates, will support manufacturers in creating consumer-preferred foods and beverages with a high protein claim from a plant-based source.

Can you tell us about your innovations in the space of plant-based meat alternatives?

Ingredion has a strong legacy in texture, clean label, and nutrition and continues to invest in the development and expansion of its plant-based solutions. From the NOVATION® functional native starch portfolio derived from corn, tapioca and potato to our pulse-based range of proteins and flours, our ingredients can be used across a wide range of applications to add functionality, protein, and texture to meat and dairy alternative products.

To build on this, Ingredion has recently launched a range of texture pea and faba bean proteins under the VITESSENCE(R) TEX brand. Derived from pea and faba bean with 65% protein on dry basis, VITESSENCE ® TEX textured proteins enable manufacturers to formulate non-soy-based and gluten-free meat alternatives with a consumer-preferred texture and front-of-pack claims. The new textured proteins can be used in meat alternatives, such as burger patties, nuggets, or sausages, and in ready meals.

Ingredion is working on technologies to improve the flavour profile of pulse proteins and plan to launch these innovative products to further strengthen our growing plant-based portfolio.

In addition, we understand it often takes more than functional ingredient components to enable a fast and efficient new product development. Therefore, Ingredion also offers tailored solution development via our Food Systems Platform to provide specific services during the product design and upscaling process. From ideation to successful market introduction, we partner with our customers throughout the entire process, whether it’s in-house or third-party manufacturing. Solving specific challenges while reducing complexity is vital to ensuring every party can fully focus on their core competences.

Working with our team of application experts and culinologists, manufacturers can identify the right combination of ingredients to support and accelerate their product development.


Ingredion is Gold Partner for the Exhibition Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Europe, 8-9 June. Meet the Ingredion team 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

Overview: https://bit.ly/3wVoShe

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Exhibition: https://bit.ly/2RqJJZg

> 750+ Participants
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> 30 Speakers
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