The Essential Ingredients

Food developers focus on the development of sustainable products that can re-create traditional meat experiences. Appearance, texture, and flavor are the three important parameters that food developers need to balance in order to achieve the desired characteristics of their product and bring it closer to the actual meat based targets.

Plant-based meats resembling the traditional meats must have a distinct bite, chewiness, firmness and most importantly the distinct taste of a traditional meat.

The Essential Ingredients

Plant proteins are more rigid and unbending in nature and so do not offer the elasticity and flexibility of a traditional meat. However, there are several plant proteins sources that can be texturized and have a potential to be used for the development of plant-based meats.


Soy Protein – as per 2020 data released by Mintel, soy protein is the most common plant protein used in plant-based meats for its widespread availability and economic pricing. Several studies have been done on this protein and texturization process. It has an ability to perform like a meat when it comes to texture and has been the main ingredients for most of the plant-based meat products. Impossible foods have reformulated their Impossible Burger and shifted from texturized wheat protein to texturized soy protein – a product which is being sold in over 1000 supermarkets in the USA.

Pea Protein – has gained attention and popularity as it can be used in plant-based meat in several forms. It also binds with water and fat and has an ability to generate a firm texture even after thermal processes, hence, it can also be a filler, binder and functional improver. However, studies have shown that pea-protein has weaker structure than soy protein therefore, hydrocolloids are often added in the recipe to address this issue. The awareness and popularity of Pea protein rose to a new high when Beyond Meat incorporated it into their recipe which boasts a complete amino acid profile.

Wheat Protein or Gluten is also used to make seitan which also has a savory taste and a meat-like structure.

Rice Protein Isolate is a plant-based protein that can be used on its own or in combination with other plant-proteins.

Other protein sources with potential for inclusion in plant-based meats include spirulina, peanut protein concentrate, rapeseed meal, quinoa and protein from surplus potatoes.

The Binders and Texturizing Agents

To develop a plant-based recipe that could mimic the organoleptic properties of a traditional meat requires the addition of a wide array of ingredients which could act as stabilizers, gelling agents, thickeners, and emulsifiers. These ingredients will help bind the water and fat presents in the formulation and will adhere to the plant proteins, resulting in a good texture and mouthfeel of plant-based meats. Methylcellulose is the most common binder used in plant-based meat, other than this, carrageenan, locust bean gum, calcium alginate products can also be used. New studies and work in our innovation center have shown excellent results in the final products with the use of citrus fibers or fiber-rich fraction of cereals.

Egg whites or albumen can also be used to provide the desired function to emulsify and bind ingredients however, this would not allow for plant-based or vegan claims and consumers of plant-based products are demanding foods are preferring foods which are completely free of animal products, hence the use of egg ingredients are declining in popularity.