Less sodium for plant-based meat analogues

Innova Market Insights reports the US meat substitutes market growing at 8.7% annually

Salt of the Earth completed a series of trials of plant-based, vegan and vegetarian meat alternatives.

The trials successfully demonstrated the ability to create tasty meat analogues with less sodium. For developers seeking to meet the growing demand for meat alternatives, Salt of the Earth’s Mediterranean Umami clean-label sodium-reduction ingredient can be a key ingredient in creating meatless products.

Increasing consumer concern regarding sustainability and the global food chain, alongside the rise of veganism, plant power and clean eating trends, has facilitated diverse new product innovation in the global meat substitutes market, according to Innova Market Insights.

For the UK market specifically, meat analogue launches tracked by Innova registered a 4.9% CAGR (2011–2016), while the US market recorded even higher growth at 8.7% CAGR in the same period.

As part of this trend, even major meat companies have recently invested in start-ups and companies making plant-based and vegan meat substitutes.

Formulating meat-alternatives is complex. It takes multiple technologies to replicate authentic flavours and textures. To counter common off-notes from plant protein, it is common to add a significant amount of salt — 1.2–2.5% — plus spices and flavours.

Meat’s distinctive flavour and texture characteristics are not easy to imitate using plant-based sources.

“The secret of our success is not just the novelty and functionality of Mediterranean Umami, but also its unique ability to enhance flavour and salty taste, allowing the replacement of common flavour enhancers and the reduction of sodium without affecting the finished product texture,” explains Ehud Zach, Food Technologies and Application Manager.

Formulating with Mediterranean Umami enables food manufacturers to meet the specific demand for plant-based meat analogues. The ingredient is clean-label, all-natural and rich in umami flavour compounds. It helps to enhance individual flavour notes and contributes to an overall savoury profile with a significant reduction of salt.

Salt of the Earth’s R&D department, in close collaboration with customers, has yielded great success, with a 25–35% sodium reduction across a variety of vegan and vegetarian products.

Vegan hamburgers, vegetarian “chicken” nuggets, seitan-based products and frankfurter-style sausages all exhibited positive results in taste and texture.

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