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People are being encouraged to consume more plant-based foods to reduce the negative impacts of the modern food supply on human and global health. The food industry is therefore creating a new generation of plant-based products to meet this demand, including meat, fish, egg, milk, cheese, and yogurt analogs. The main challenge in this area is to simulate the desirable appearance, texture, flavor, mouthfeel, nutrition, and functionality of these products using healthy, affordable, and sustainable plant-derived ingredients, such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. The molecular and physicochemical properties of plant-derived ingredients are very different from those of animal-derived ones. It is therefore critical to understand the fundamental attributes of plant-derived ingredients and how they can be assembled into structures resembling those found in animal products. This short review provides an overview of the current status of the scientific understanding of plant-based foods and highlights areas where further research is required. In particular, it focuses on the chemical, physical, and functional properties of plant ingredients; the processing operations that can be used to convert these ingredients into food products; and the science behind the creation of some common plant-based foods, namely meat, egg, and milk analogs.
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A brief review of the science behind the design of healthy and
sustainable plant-based foods
David Julian McClements
and Lutz Grossmann
People are being encouraged to consume more plant-based foods to reduce the negative impacts of the modern food supply on
human and global health. The food industry is therefore creating a new generation of plant-based products to meet this demand,
including meat, sh, egg, milk, cheese, and yogurt analogs. The main challenge in this area is to simulate the desirable appearance,
texture, avor, mouthfeel, nutrition, and functionality of these products using healthy, affordable, and sustainable plant-derived
ingredients, such as lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. The molecular and physicochemical properties of plant-derived ingredients
are very different from those of animal-derived ones. It is therefore critical to understand the fundamental attributes of plant-
derived ingredients and how they can be assembled into structures resembling those found in animal products. This short review
provides an overview of the current status of the scientic understanding of plant-based foods and highlights areas where further
research is required. In particular, it focuses on the chemical, physical, and functional properties of plant ingredients; the processing
operations that can be used to convert these ingredients into food products; and the science behind the creation of some common
plant-based foods, namely meat, egg, and milk analogs.
npj Science of Food (2021) 5:17 ;
The modern food and agricultural industries have produced a
plentiful supply of safe, affordable, convenient, and tasty foods,
contributing to a signicant reduction in world hunger and
malnutrition over the past century. But current food production
practices are also linked to the high prevalence of some chronic
diseases, as well as to appreciable environmental damage
higher quantity and enhanced quality of food are required to feed
a global population that is growing and becoming wealthier
. The
production of large quantities of animal products, such as meat,
sh, egg, milk, and their derivatives, has been proposed to be a
major factor contributing to the negative impact of the modern
food supply on global environmental sustainability
. Rearing
livestock for food typically leads to more pollution, as well as
greater greenhouse gas emissions, water use, land use, and loss of
biodiversity than growing plants directly for consumption
should be noted, however, that there are areas unsuitable for the
production of agricultural crops that are suitable for the raising of
animals as foods. Moreover, some studies have shown that
switching to a more plant-based diet may result in a slight
increase in overall water use and only a modest decrease in overall
cropland use
. However, many people have ethical concerns
about conning and slaughtering animals, which is motivating
them to switch to a more plant-based diet
. Moreover, many
consumers believe a plant-based diet is healthier than an animal-
based one, which is driving changes in their eating behaviors
, but
it is important to note that a plant-based diet is not necessarily
better than an omnivore diet from a nutritional perspective
Animal foods, such as meat, milk, and egg, often contain
micronutrients that are lacking from an entirely plant-based diet,
such as vitamin D, calcium, and zinc. For this reason, plant-based
foods often need to be fortied with these micronutrients.
As a result of these environmental, ethical, and health concerns,
the plant-based food sector is expanding rapidly to meet
consumer demand
. This sector includes a range of products
created as alternatives to those normally produced from animals,
including milk, meat, sh, eggs, and products where they are used
as ingredients (Table 1). Each product category is expected to
have its own unique physical, functional, nutritional, and sensory
attributes. The food industry must therefore identify appropriate
combinations of ingredients and manufacturing operations to
economically create these attributes in plant-based foods on a
large scale. As a result, they need knowledge of the molecular and
physicochemical properties of plant-derived ingredients, how they
can be assembled into structures that mimic those found in
animal products, and how these structures inuence the
physicochemical and organoleptic properties of the end product.
Ideally, these plant-based products should also be designed to be
healthy, which involves controlling their nutrient prole, digest-
ibility, and bioavailability. In the case of plant proteins, it is
important to ensure that they are able to provide the full
complement of essential amino acids and that they are
. A well-balanced essential amino acid prole can often
be achieved by consuming a mixture of plant proteins from
different sources, such as grains and legumes.
Initially, it is important to identify an appropriate blend of plant-
derived ingredients to produce a specic plant-based food, such
as a meat, sh, egg, or milk analog. These ingredients may be
isolated nutrients (such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins,
or minerals) or complex whole materials (such as beans, peas, rice,
wheat, mushrooms, etc.). These ingredients have compositions,
structures, and physicochemical properties that are very different
from those found in animal products. One of the major challenges
is therefore to assemble these ingredients into animal product
analogs. Sometimes plant-derived ingredients can be used as-is
(e.g., mushrooms), but in other cases, they may have to be
dissembled into specic structural elements before being
Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA. email:;
Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
reassembled into animal product analogs (e.g., soy proteins). A
brief outline of some of the main plant-derived ingredients used
to form plant-based foods is given here.
Plant-based proteins
Plant proteins are commonly used in plant-based foods because
of their versatile functional attributes, such as their ability to
thicken, gel, emulsify, foam, and hold uids
. In addition, they
are an important source of essential amino acids. These proteins
can be derived from various botanical sources, including
soybeans, peas, faba beans, mung beans, lentils, algae, and
microalgae, each with its own unique characteristics (Table 2).
Most plant proteins have globular structures and are often present
as complex multimers consisting of numerous different types of
protein held together by physical and/or chemical bonds (Fig. 1).
The functionality of these proteins depends on their biological
origin, as well as any changes in their association and native states
during isolation and purication. A major challenge in the plant-
based food sector is the lack of plant proteins with consistent
functional attributes. In the future, more research is required to
identify appropriate botanical sources and isolation procedures for
producing reliable functional ingredients. Another major chal-
lenge is to coax plant proteins into structural organizations that
mimic those found in animal products (Fig. 2), thereby leading to
similar physicochemical attributes.
Plant-based carbohydrates
Carbohydrates, such as sugars, oligosaccharides, or polysacchar-
ides, can also be used as functional ingredients to assemble
animal product analogs
. Plant-derived carbohydrates exhibit
different molecular, physicochemical, functional, and biological
properties depending on their biological origin and isolation
procedures. These ingredients may be used to provide a variety of
functional attributes in plant-based foods, including sweetness,
thickness, gelling, emulsication, structure formation, stabilization,
and uid holding
. They may also be digestible or indigestible
(i.e., bers), as well as fermentable or non-fermentable, which
impacts human nutrition and health. It is therefore important to
select carbohydrate ingredients that provide the required quality
and nutritional attributes in the end product. Polysaccharides are
often used in combination with proteins to obtain desirable
textural and sensory properties in plant-based foods via phase
separation and interactive mechanisms
Plant-based lipids
Plant-based fats and oils can be economically extracted from
various lipid-rich botanical sources, including algae, canola,
coconut, cocoa, corn, axseed, olive, palm, safower, soybean,
and sunower. For many applications, the ability of the
triacylglycerols to form a 3D network of fat crystals is important,
as it provides desirable textural attributes, such as the plasticity of
butter and spreads (Fig. 3). Moreover, the change in the solid fat
content with temperature plays a critical role in the functionality
of many foods. This is particularly important when trying to mimic
the behavior of animal fats with plant fats. The melting point of
fats increases as the number of carbon atoms in the fatty acid
chains increases or the number of double bonds decreases. The
crystallization characteristics of fats are responsible for many of
the desired quality attributes of animal products, such as butter
spreadability, whipped cream foamability, cheese meltability, and
ice cream hardness. For this reason, it is often important to
simulate the crystallization characteristics of animal fats using
Table 1. Market value of plant-based food products in the United
States (2019), growth over a two-year period (20172019), and market
share (2019).
Category Value ($) Growth (%) Share (%)
Milk $2,016,540 14% 40.5%
Meat $939,459 38% 18.9%
Meals $376,972 26% 7.6%
Ice cream and frozen novelty $335,549 34% 6.7%
Creamer $286,662 93% 5.8%
Yogurt $282,502 95% 5.7%
Butter $198,359 15% 4.0%
Cheese $189,099 51% 3.8%
Tofu and tempeh $127,856 15% 2.6%
Ready-to-drink beverages $122,276 39% 2.5%
Condiments, dressings,
and mayo
$63,696 1.4% 1.3%
Dairy spreads, dips, sour cream,
and sauces
$29,513 135% 0.6%
Eggs $9,851 228% 0.2%
$4,978,587 29% 100%
Adapted from Cross (2020)
The bold values show the total amount in each category.
Table 2. Molecular properties of selected plant and animal proteins.
(kDa) pI T
Meat proteins
Collagen 300 586267
Hemoglobin 67 6.8 67
Myoglobin 17 6.87.2 79
Actin 43 ~5.2 7080
Myosin 520 ~5.3 4050
Sarcoplasmic 20100 Varies 5070
Egg proteins
Ovalbumin 45 4.6 85
Conalbumin 80 6.6 63
Ovomucoid 28 3.9 70
Ovoglobulins 3045 5.55.8 93
Lysozyme 14.6 10.7 78
Milk proteins
casein 23.6 4.6
casein 25.2 4.6
βcasein 24.0 4.6
κcasein 19.6 4.6
βlactoglobulin 18.4 5.4 72
αlactalbumin 14.2 4.4 35 and 64*
BSA 66.3 4.9 64
Plant proteins
Soy protein 150380 4.55.0 8093
Pea protein 50360 4.5 7579
Lentil protein 1582 4.5 120
Chickpea protein 1582 4.5 90
Lupin protein 150216 4.5 79101
Canola protein 1459 4.5 84102
Corn zein 1427 6.4 89
*The lower and higher temperatures for alpha-lactalbumin are for the apo-
(calcium free) and holo- (calcium bound) forms, respectively.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
npj Science of Food (2021) 17 Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
plant-derived ones. This is often challenging because plant-
derived fats contain more unsaturated fatty acids than animal fats
and so tend to be more uid-like at ambient temperatures. This
problem can be overcome by increasing the degree of saturation
of these fats using hydrogenation, but this may have adverse
nutritional effects. As a result, food manufacturers often use
naturally occurring high-melting plant-derived fats in their
products, such as cocoa butter and coconut oil, but these also
have high degrees of saturation that may have adverse health
effects, such as an increased risk of heart disease
The type of fatty acids present in plant-derived fats and oils also
inuences their nutritional prole and oxidative stability. Fats and
oils containing high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs),
particularly omega-3 ones (like axseed or algae oils), have been
claimed to have benecial health effects, such as the ability to
reduce heart and brain diseases
. Although further studies are
required to substantiate these claims using randomized clinical
trials and meta-analysis. These fats may be used as an alternative
to sh oils, which are rich in omega-3 PUFAs. Even so, it is
important to prevent these PUFAs from oxidizing during storage
and processing since this leads to the generation of undesirable
off-avors and toxic reaction products
. This may be achieved
using numerous strategies including controlling temperature,
oxygen, and light levels; reducing pro-oxidant contamination;
incorporating antioxidants; utilizing chelating agents, or structur-
ing approaches
. Utilization of these approaches will be
important for creating the next generation of nutritionally-
fortied plant-based foods.
Other additives
The creation of high-quality plant-based foods also requires the
utilization of various other additives, including colors, avors,
buffers, preservatives, and crosslinking agents
. Ideally, these
ingredients should be natural botanical ingredients, like natural
pigments (e.g., carotenoids, anthocyanins, and curcuminoids) or
preservatives (e.g., essential oils or antimicrobial peptides).
In general, plant-derived ingredients are being used to create a
wide range of food products to replace animal-based ones (such
as meat, sh, eggs, and milk) or that normally require animal
ingredients as key components (such as cheese, dressings, sauces,
spreads, and yogurts) (Table 1). Here, we give a brief overview of
the science and technology behind the formulation of the main
categories of plant-based alternatives: meat, milk, and egg.
Plant-based meat analogs
The recent commercial success of plant-based meat products,
such as those produced by Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods,
has had a profound impact on the modern food industry
Indeed, the market for plant-based meats in the US was nearly
$940 million in 2019, with a 38% increase from two years before
(Table 1).
The food industry has been highly successful in producing high-
quality analogs of comminuted meat products, such as burgers,
sausages, nuggets, and ground meat since texturized vegetable
proteins (TVPs) can be used to simulate their structures. However,
it has proved much more challenging to create products that
accurately mimic the properties of whole muscle tissue, which
consists of muscle bers, connective tissue, and adipose tissue
organized into complex hierarchical structures (Fig. 2). The
structural arrangement of these tissues plays a critical role in
determining the physicochemical and sensory attributes of real
meat products
The production of high-quality plant-based whole muscle
analogs requires selecting the most appropriate ingredients and
processing operations to simulate muscle ber, connective, and
adipose tissue (Fig. 4). Here, we highlight some of the key factors
that should be considered when designing meat analogs that
faithfully simulate the attributes of real meat. More details about
this topic can be found in a number of recent review articles
Ideally, meat analogs should reliably mimic the desirable
Fig. 1 Globular plant proteins are often present as multimers linked together. The 3D view is for the soy glycinin hexamer, which is from
the Protein Data Bank 1FXZ: Adachi, M., Takenaka, Y., Gidamis, A. B., Mikami, B., Utsumi, S. Crystal structure of soybean proglycinin A1aB1b
homotrimer. J. Mol. Biol. 305, 291305 (2001). doi: 10.1006/jmbi.2000.4310.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University npj Science of Food (2021) 17
characteristics of real meat products before, after, and during
cooking. Meat analogs are mainly constructed from plant-derived
macronutrients (fats, proteins, and polysaccharides), but also
contain micronutrients and other additives, such as vitamins,
minerals, colors, avorings, binders, and preservatives
. The
ingredients and processing operations used to produce these
analogs must be optimized for each specic meat product being
Appearance. The opaque nature of real meat can be simulated
by including particles or bers with dimensions (2002000 nm)
that scatter light strongly. The surface sheen of meat can be
simulated by controlling the surface roughness and wetness of
meat analogs. The analogs should have a wet smooth surface
before heating leading to specular reectance and a shiny look,
but a rough dry surface after heating leading to diffuse reectance
and a matt look. The color of real meat is simulated by
incorporating natural pigments that selectively absorb light at
appropriate wavelengths. For instance, a beef analog should be
pinky-red before cooking and brown after cooking. For some
products, such as microwavable ones, it is only required to
reproduce the brownish color of the cooked product.
Food companies have used various strategies to simulate the
color of real meat in their plant-based alternatives. Beyond Meat
uses an extract from beet juice extract containing betalain (a
natural pigment) to recreate the desirable color of meat. The
betalain undergoes a chemical transformation when heated,
causing it to turn from reddish-violet to orangey-yellow
Impossible Foods
uses a plant-based heme protein, leghemo-
globin, in their products. In principle, leghemoglobin can be
extracted from the roots of soybeans, but in practice, it is more
economically viable to generate it by microbial fermentation.
Other natural pigments can be used either alone or in
combination to create desirable meat-like color characteristics
Texture. It is possible to simulate the textural attributes of
comminuted meat products (sausages, burgers, and nuggets)
fairly accurately using TVPs, which has led to highly successful
commercial plant-based products such as those from Impossible
and Beyond Meat
TM 25
. It is much more challenging to
Fig. 2 The muscles in meat have a complex hierarchical structure. The image of the meat structure used is from: OpenStax, CC BY 4.0., via Wikimedia Commons.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
npj Science of Food (2021) 17 Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
simulate the delicate texture and mouthfeel of whole muscle
products, like beef steaks, chicken breast, or pork chops because
of their complex hierarchical structures (Fig. 2). A range of
scientic and technological approaches are being explored for
their potential in creating structures from plant-derived ingredi-
ents that simulate those found in real meat, with the ultimate aim
of accurately mimicking their texture and mouthfeel
. These
approaches can be grouped into two different categories that may
be used separately or combined: physicochemical and processing
Physicochemical approaches are based on controlling the
molecular interactions and organization of plant-derived biopoly-
mers to create meat-like structures
. Typically, a mixture of
plant proteins and polysaccharides is used for this purpose.
Appropriate mixtures of biopolymers can be made to phase
separate by controlling the ingredient types and concentrations,
as well as solution properties such as pH, mineral composition,
and temperature (Fig. 4). The two main phase separation
approaches involved are thermodynamic incompatibility and
coacervation, which are based on inducing either repulsive or
attractive interactions between the two types of biopolymers,
respectively. This leads to the formation of a water-in-water (W/W)
emulsion that contains two aqueous phases with different
compositions. A mild shear force is then applied to the phase-
separated biopolymer solution, resulting in the generation of
ber-like structures. These structures can then be locked into
place by adding a suitable gelling agent or by changing the
temperature (cooling or heating). This approach can be used to
form brous structures that simulate some of the characteristics of
those found in real meat, thereby leading to some similar
physicochemical attributes (Fig. 5).
Plant-derived biopolymers can also be used to form meat-like
structures using certain kinds of mechanical processing devices,
such as extruders or high shear cells. As an example, protein-water
mixtures are fed into an extrusion device, which mixes and shears
them under high pressure and then extrudes them through a
shaped die to form meat-like structures and textures
Alternatively, these structures and textures can be formed by
placing a mixture of proteins and polysaccharides into a specially
designed cone-in-cone shear cell, which applies strong shear
forces to the mixture by rotating one or both of the plates at a
high speed. The biopolymer mixture can also be heated within the
cell during the shearing process to promote protein unfolding and
aggregation. As a result, the proteins organize into ber-like
structures that somewhat resemble the structure of meat bers
Extrusion methods are currently the most common processing
method to create meat-like textures in commercial products, but
the shear cell is also nding increasing use.
Fig. 3 This gure shows the change in SFC with temperature (top), as well as the different crystal contents in lipids with temperature
(bottom). The SFC-temperature prole of an edible fat determines its functionality.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University npj Science of Food (2021) 17
Cooking loss. An important attribute of real meat products is
their ability to retain/lose uids during cooking, as their uid
content impacts their look, feel, mouthfeel, and cooking proper-
ties. It is therefore important that meat analogs simulate the uid-
holding properties of real meat. Researchers have used funda-
mental physical chemistry models to identify the key factors
impacting the uid-holding properties of meat analogs: the
interactions between the solvent and biopolymer molecules; the
elastic modulus of the gel network formed by the biopolymer
molecules; and, the osmotic pressure generated due to a
concentration imbalance of mineral ions inside and outside the
gel network
. The uid holding properties of meat analogs can
therefore be manipulated by altering biopolymer type, concentra-
tion, and crosslinking. In addition, the incorporation of poly-
saccharides can be used to improve the uid holding properties
Flavor. Hundreds of aromatic molecules have been reported in
meat products, but only some of these play a critical role in
determining their characteristic avor proles
. The aroma prole
depends on the type of meat and cooking method used. In
cooked meat, the aromatic molecules are mainly the result of
complex chemical reactions involving protein, carbohydrate, and
lipid molecules, particularly Maillard and oxidation reactions. The
taste of cooked meat depends on the balance of non-volatile
molecules present that interact with umami, salt, sweet, bitter, and
sour receptors in the mouth. These molecules may be present
within the original raw animal esh or they may be produced as a
result of the cooking processes used.
Information about the most important avor constituents
within real meat products can be used to identify plant-based
alternatives that provide meaty avors in meat analogs. Impos-
sible Foods uses soy leghemoglobin produced by fermentation
processes to create meatynotes in their commercial meat
analogs. The heme iron in leghemoglobin is exposed during
cooking, thereby promoting oxidative reactions that generate
aromatic compounds similar to those produced in real meat
Mycoproteins, which are also produced using fermentation
processes, are being utilized for their ability to produce meat-
like aromas, tastes, and textures
. Algae and microalgae are being
used in plant-based sh and other marine products because they
provide seafood-like avors
. Plant-derived materials can be used
as precursors to form meaty avors by carrying out controlled
Maillard and oxidation reactions
. Research is also being carried
out to reduce the undesirable avors found in some plant-derived
ingredients, e.g., the beany, earthy, astringent, or vegetative notes
associated with chickpea, mung bean, or pea proteins
Nutritional prole. A major challenge when developing plant-
based meat analogs is to match the nutritional prole of the
original product. Meats contain high levels of protein, as well as
essential micronutrients, such as zinc, iron, and vitamin B.
Moreover, these micronutrients are often present in a highly
bioavailable form within animal products. Consequently, it is
important to design plant-based meat analogs that are enriched
with bioavailable forms of these micronutrients. This can often be
achieved using advanced encapsulation technologies, such as
emulsions or nanoemulsions
Plant-based milk analogs
Plant-based milk analogs are currently the most commonly
consumed plant-based food products, contributing over 40% of
the market sales in this sector (Table 1)
. The raw materials,
processing methods, physicochemical properties, sensory attri-
butes, and nutritional proles of milk analogs products have been
reviewed in a number of recent articles
. For this reason, only
Fig. 4 Soft matter physics is used to create meat-like structures from plant ingredients. The authors thank Xiaoyan Hu and Cheryl Chung
(UMASS) for providing the images of adipose tissue and plant-based muscle bers. The image of the muscle bers is by Nephron and is
licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. The image of the raw beef steak is by Jellaluna and is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
npj Science of Food (2021) 17 Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
a short overview of these products is given here, with an emphasis
on their fundamental properties.
Raw materials and production. Milk analogs are complex colloidal
dispersions comprised of various kinds of particles, including oil
bodies, fat droplets, protein aggregates, plant tissue fragments,
and/or insoluble calcium carbonate particles, dispersed in an
aqueous medium containing soluble proteins, polysaccharides,
sugars, and salts
. Creating high-quality milk analogs, therefore,
requires basic knowledge of colloid and interface science, such as
particle reduction technologies, light scattering theory, and
particle instability mechanisms. Milk analogs are typically created
using two approaches: (i) plant tissue disruption; (ii) homogeniza-
tion (Fig. 5)
. The rst approach involves unit operations such as
soaking, mechanical disruption, enzymatic hydrolysis, separation,
formulation, homogenization, and thermal treatment to break
down plant materials (such as soybeans, axseeds, almonds, or
coconut esh) into small particles. The second approach involves
blending isolated plant-based ingredients (e.g., oils, emulsiers,
and thickeners) with water followed by homogenization and
thermal treatment to produce an emulsion containing small
. These processes must be carefully controlled to create
stable milk analogs with the appropriate physicochemical,
sensory, and functional attributes. Gravitational separation and
aggregation can be inhibited by ensuring all the particles are
sufciently small (<500 nm), which can be achieved using
appropriate chemical, enzymatic or mechanical size-reduction
methods. Plant-based stabilizers, such as emulsiers or thickening
agents, may also be included to improve emulsion formation and
stability. Plant-based emulsiers include surface-active proteins
(e.g., soy, pea, fava bean, and lentil proteins), polysaccharides (e.g.,
modied starches), phospholipids (e.g., soy and sunower
lecithin), or surfactants (e.g., quillaja and tea saponins)
. Plant-
based thickening agents may be added to modify the textural
characteristics or inhibit particle separation, which is usually
polysaccharides like pectin, locust bean gum, gellan gum, starch,
methylcellulose, carrageenan, and alginate
. The ingredients and
processing operations used are optimized to create milk analogs
that mimic the desirable properties and functional performance of
cows milk
. Milk analogs may also be fortied with micronu-
trients to provide nutrients that may be decient in plant-based
diets, such as vitamin D, vitamin B
, and calcium
Appearance and sensory. A creamy appearance can be achieved
in milk analogs by controlling the concentration and size of the
colloidal particles they contain, such as oil bodies, fat droplets, and
tissue fragments. Their lightness increases with increasing particle
concentration and when the particles have similar dimensions to
light waves (380780 nm). The inherent color of milk analogs
depends on the type and concentration of natural pigments they
. To achieve a desirable appearance it is often necessary
to add or remove certain natural pigments.
The sensory attributes of cows milk are difcult to recreate
because it has a bland but characteristic avor prole, with over
100 volatile compounds typically present
. In contrast, milk
analogs contain avors arising from the plants raw materials, as
well as generated during processing and storage. For instance,
soymilks often have a beany avor, whereas hazelnut milk has a
nutty avor
. Moreover, phytochemicals such as phenols and
glucosinolates may introduce off-avors, such as bitter, earthy, or
vegetative notes
. Researchers are therefore developing new
plant breeds and new processing methods to reduce off-avors in
milk analogs, including blanching and fermentation
Nutritional prole. The nutritional prole of plant-based milk
products is often inferior to that of real milk
. Cows milk naturally
contains high levels of vitamin A and calcium, which may be
lacking in a plant-based diet. This problem can be overcome by
using advanced encapsulation technologies to fortify plant-based
milk with bioavailable forms of these micronutrients
Fig. 5 Plant-based milk can be produced by fragmentation or homogenization methods. Image of soybeans from CSIRO (CC BY 3.0). Image
of Soy Milkby is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 (
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University npj Science of Food (2021) 17
Plant-based egg analogs
Whole hens eggs are mainly comprised of water (75%), proteins
(12%), and lipids (12%), and contain a diverse range of
constituents that contribute to their various functional applica-
tions in foods, such as emulsication, foaming, water holding, and
. As a result, they are versatile ingredients that can be
used in many different foods, including alone (boiled, scrambled,
poached, or fried eggs) or as a critical part of other foods (like
mayonnaise, dressings, baked goods, and desserts). Ideally, plant-
based egg analogs should simulate these desirable physiochem-
ical and functional attributes. One of the most important
functional attributes is the ability to undergo a solgel transition
when heated under similar cooking conditions as used for real
eggs. Ideally, the globular plant proteins used in egg analogs
should therefore have a denaturation temperature in the same
range as real egg proteins (i.e., around 6393 °C), but many plant
proteins only denature at higher temperatures (e.g., around 90 °C
for soy glycinin
). As a result, higher temperatures or longer
heating times are often required to achieve the same structure
formation and textural attributes as real eggs. Instrumental
methods like differential scanning calorimetry and dynamic shear
rheometry can be used to provide information about protein
denaturation and gelation temperatures. Typically, it is important
that the plant proteins used are in a native state prior to heating,
which means their isolation conditions must be carefully
controlled. The nature of the gels formed depends on protein
type (e.g., soybean, pea, chickpea, bean, and sunower), protein
concentration, and environmental conditions (e.g., ionic strength,
pH, and thermal history), which should therefore all be carefully
. In some applications, the plant-based ingredients in
egg analogs should also exhibit good emulsifying properties, such
as in mayonnaise or dressings. Plant proteins or phospholipids
used for this purpose should typically be soluble in water, capable
of adsorbing to oil droplet surfaces, and able to stabilize oil
droplets from aggregation. In some cases, other plant-based
ingredients may also be required to prevent destabilization of the
product, such as thickening agents that inhibit gravitational
separation. The yellowish appearance of egg yolks may be
achieved by adding natural pigments (such as curcumin or
carotenoids), while an appropriate avor prole may be achieved
by adding natural avors, herbs, or spices.
Many different egg analogs have been developed over the
years, with JUST Egg
( being one of the most
successful recently. Two products are currently on the market
from this company: (i) uid eggs intended to prepare scrambled
eggs or omelets; (ii) frozen egg slices that can be heated and used
in breakfast sandwiches. Mung bean protein and emulsied
canola oil are two of the main components of these products. The
proteins unfold and aggregate during cooking leading to a gel-like
texture. The canola oil droplets contribute to the opaque
appearance, textural attributes, avor prole, and mouthfeel of
the nal product. These products also contain transglutaminase,
an enzyme that crosslinks the proteins, thereby increasing the gel
strength and water holding capacity so as to better mimic real
. The yellowish color of eggs is mimicked in these products
by adding turmeric, which contains curcumin. Other functional
ingredients are also added to more closely simulate the properties
of real eggs, including thickeners/stabilizers (e.g., corn starch and
gellan gum), seasonings (e.g., garlic powder, onion powder, sugar,
and salt), buffering salts (e.g., bicarbonates, citrates, or phos-
phates), and preservatives (e.g., nisin). In the future, more research
is still required to improve the functional versatility of egg analogs
and to enhance their nutritional proles.
Nutritional prole. The nutritional prole of plant-based eggs is
often worse than that of real hens eggs. Hens eggs naturally
contain a variety of vitamins and minerals that are not commonly
found in a plant-based diet. For this reason, it is often important to
fortify plant-based egg products with bioavailable forms of these
micronutrients, which often require the utilization of advanced
encapsulation technologies.
Recent reports suggest that human and global health would be
greatly improved by replacing animal-based foods (such as meat,
sh, eggs, milk, and their products) with plant-based alternatives.
This transition would be facilitated by the availability of more
plant-based foods that are affordable, convenient, sustainable,
nutritious, and tasty. Consumers would then nd it easier to
change their dietary habits and adopt a more healthy and
sustainable diet. There are, however, various hurdles that need to
be addressed to achieve this goal:
Consumer-based hurdles: Improved knowledge of the behavior
of consumers is needed to create effective approaches to
encourage them to try, like, and adopt plant-based foods.
There has already been a considerable amount of consumer
research carried out for certain kinds of plant-based pro-
. However, more research is required to develop
effective materials to educate consumers about the potential
benets and drawbacks of consuming plant-based foods so
they can make informed choices.
Technological-based hurdles: The creation of plant-based foods
is being held back by a lack of high-quality plant-derived
ingredients, particularly proteins, as well as large-scale
manufacturing processes to convert these ingredients into
desirable end products. In particular, it is still challenging to
create analogs of whole muscle meat, sh, yogurt, and cheese
because of their complex structural hierarchies. Consequently,
more research is required to understand the relationship
between the structure and properties of plant-based ingre-
dients and their ability to form high-quality meat, sh, egg, or
dairy analogs people want to consume.
Commercial-based hurdles: The commercialization of plant-
based foods is being held back by a lack of knowledge about
the relative advantages and disadvantages of different plant-
derived ingredients and manufacturing processes, as well as
of safety concerns (such as allergenicity), regulations in
different countries, and supply chain issues. Increased knowl-
edge about these issues would help companies to successfully
enter the plant-based food market.
Social-based and economic-based hurdles: Changes in govern-
ment policies, such as taxation, incentives, and educational
programs, would facilitate the transition to a more plant-
based diet. However, improved knowledge about the social,
economic, environmental, and health implications of replacing
animal products with plant-based ones is still required to craft
and implement these policies.
In the future, it will be important for governments, industries,
and non-prot organizations to support efforts to obtain this
information, thereby facilitating a more rapid transition to a
healthy and sustainable plant-based diet. It should also be noted
that many plant-based foods are highly processed and contain
numerous additives, which is undesirable to many consumers.
Consequently, there is a need for more research on the
development of processed plant-based foods that contain fewer
ingredients and involve less processing. In addition, it is often
assumed that plant-based foods are healthier than animal-based
ones. But this is often not the case. More research is required to
ensure that plant-based foods are carefully designed to ensure
that they have benecial nutrient proles and that the nutrients
are in a bioavailable form.
D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
npj Science of Food (2021) 17 Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
Data sharing not applicable. This is a review article and no new datasets were
generated or analyzed during this study.
Received: 18 January 2021; Accepted: 13 May 2021;
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D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University npj Science of Food (2021) 17
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture,
Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Competitive Program, grant number: 2020-
03921. It was also supported by funding provided by the Good Food Institute.
D.J.M. planned the article. D.J.M. and L.G. then wrote and edited the various sections
of the article. D.J.M. and L.G. are considered co-rst authors.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to D.J.M. or L.G.
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D.J. McClements and L. Grossmann
npj Science of Food (2021) 17 Published in partnership with Beijing Technology and Business University
... PBCs are designed to be similar to dairy cheese in nutrition, appearance, texture, mouthfeel, and flavour [4]. Following this concept, the design principle of PBC is to aim for the physicochemical and sensory properties of a specific cheese product, such as cheddar, mozzarella, or other processed cheese, which should be achieved by using different combinations of raw materials and processing techniques depending on the properties needed. ...
... huge compositional difference between plant and animal ingredients, must be addressed through a deep understanding of the relationship between the structure and properties of the two categories of ingredients [4]. This is also our purpose to study a proper method to develop a nutritious and tasty plant-based cheese snack, and most of the tested results showed that the method might be a prominent path worthy of further research. ...
Full-text available
Human and global health would be greatly improved by replacing animal-based foods with plant-based alternatives. This transition would be facilitated when more affordable, convenient, sustainable, nutritious, and tasty plant-based foods are available on the market. Interest in related research has surged these years, and dozens of plant-based cheese (PBC) products have been introduced to the market. However, studies found that most PBCs are far from comparable with dairy cheese in nutritional value, and the texture and sensory properties are still hurdles to the widespread consumption of PBCs. This paper focused on the “tissue disruption route” and adopted chickpeas and nuts as the main ingredients to form a cheese snack. Test results showed that our samples were high of nourishment value compared to the cheese sample and even healthier than the cheese in the terms of energy ( 709.37 ± 1.35 vs. 865.63 ± 0.49 kJ/100 g, p < 0.01 ), K/Na ratio ( 142.00 ± 0.82 / 13.33 ± 0.12 mg/100 g vs. 121.67 ± 2.05 / 44.23 ± 0.05 mg/100 g, p < 0.01 ), DF ( 6.99 ± 0.01 g/100 g vs. N/A, p < 0.01 ), and cholesterol ( 8.81 ± 0.25 vs. 207.30 ± 3.35 mg/100 g, p < 0.01 ). From the order of magnitude, the PBC samples are similar to the cheese sample in the aspects of cohesiveness ( p < 0.05 ) in texture test, and the fermentation process improved the imitation of texture properties in terms of hardness and cohesiveness (both p < 0.05 ). The volatile compounds were similar between the two PBC samples; however, the fermentation process could increase the species of the volatile compounds and make the PBC a little more similar to the dairy cheese. Overall, the observed properties of our PBC snack using raw chickpeas and nuts make the “plant-based cheese substitutes” extremely promising because of their nutritional value, sensory, and texture properties.
... An extensive body of literature has recently discussed how the transition from animal-based meat to alternative sources of proteins could help to reduce the environmental impacts of livestock chains, such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Sinke et al., 2023;Smetana et al., 2015;Takacs et al., 2022;Tuomisto and Teixeira de Mattos, 2011;Tuomisto et al., 2022). Alternative proteins are broadly characterized as being made with ingredients that replace traditional protein sources and have a lower environmental impact (Grossmann and Weiss, 2021), while the terms "meat analogs" and "meat substitutes" refer more specifically to alternative protein products that incorporate the nutritional and sensory characteristics of meat (McClements and Grossmann, 2021;Smetana et al., 2023). Plant-based meats are produced with vegetable proteins such as soy, pea or wheat to mimic the characteristics of animal meat products (Choudhury et al., 2020;He et al., 2020). ...
... The development of plant-based meat products needs to consider several factors such as nutrition, allergenicity, consumer perception, cost, flavor, and texture (Gómez-Luciano et al., 2019;The Good Food Institute, 2021). The ability of textured vegetable proteins to mimic meat has driven the industry's success in bringing a wide variety of plant-based meats to the market (Gravely and Fraser, 2018;McClements and Grossmann, 2021). ...
... At the moment, the most common meat alternatives on the market are plant-based meat substitutes, which have seen a significant increase in sales in recent years [29]. Substitutes can be found in various formats such as burgers, sausages, and ground beef, which are remarkably close to the original texture and organoleptic properties of meat [30] and have largely been accepted by consumers. ...
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Growing worldwide food demand with its environmental impacts requires a reshaping of food consumption. This study aims to evaluate the degree of Italian consumers’ awareness of sustainability and whether protein alternatives to meat could be accepted. A cross-sectional survey was carried out on a group of 815 respondents, representative of the Italian adult population for geography, gender, and age, using multivariate analysis together with cluster analysis. Lack of awareness of the consequences of food choices on the environment was found in 45% of respondents, and 51% reduced their consumption of meat. Typical foods of the Mediterranean diet (84% legumes 82% eggs, and 77% fish) were selected as the preferred sources of protein to replace meat, while insects and insect-based products were less accepted (67%). The importance of meat is the latent factor that explains more than 50% of the common variance observed in the factor analysis. The cluster analysis confirmed the importance of meat for Italian consumers, emphasizing other aspects of the sustainability of food choices. Cluster 1 (25.6%) considered meat very important. Two out of five clusters (clusters 2 and 3, 38%) considered meat replaceable in the diet, and cluster 4 (31.3%) included meat consumers that were willing to be sustainable. Cluster 5 identifies the “unsustainable consumers” (5.7%). In conclusion, besides the perceived importance of meat, there is room for recommendations for its reduction by proposing alternative foods already present in the Mediterranean diet.
... The term analogue refers to the resemblance of yogurt made from plant sources to traditional yogurt, particularly its appearance. The public is aiming to accomplish a healthy and sustainable diet [2] and the ethical issue that relates to the con ning and slaughtering of animals [3]. The development of yogurts analogue is focused on consumers with health limitations which include cow milk protein allergy and lactose intolerance [4]. ...
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There is a growing need for plant-based yogurts analogue that meet consumer demands in terms of texture and sensory qualities. Stabilizers are crucial in plant-based yogurt's physical properties which develop a thicker and creamier texture mimicking dairy yogurt. The addition of stabilizers helps to prevent syneresis. Thus, the study aims to evaluate the effect of pectin, corn starch, and locust bean gum (LBG) at different ratios on the physical, chemical, microbiological, and sensory properties of chickpea yogurts analogue (CYA). The concentration of stabilizer significantly influenced (p < 0.05) the proximate compositions, physicochemical and textural properties, and cell viability. A significant increase (p < 0.05) was observed in yogurt viscosity with the addition of corn starch and LBG at 1.0%. Firmness and consistency were improved in samples supplemented with 1.0% corn starch and commercial stabilizer. The sensory evaluation indicated that adding LBG at the ratio of 0.5% generated better preference among panelists in the appearance, color, and texture aspects despite commercial CYA showing significantly higher overall acceptability (p < 0.05) than other samples. The stabilizer's behavior significantly impacts the features of CYA which with 0.5% LBG received high consumer acceptance, which proves a good potential for CYA to be on the same shelf with other commercial yogurts analogue in the market.
... For the microbial safety and stability of the final product, plant-based preservatives with antioxidant and antimicrobial functionalities are added to the meat analogs [76]. For example, carotenoids, tocopherols, spices, and herbs are used as antioxidants, and curcumin, essential oils, and polyphenols are used as antimicrobials [70,77]. Despite the apparent nutritional completeness of these meat alternatives, recent concerns on their nutritional content and safety have been raised. ...
Full-text available
Plant-based meat analogs have been shown to cause less harm for both human health and the environment compared to real meat, especially processed meat. However, the intense pressure to enhance the sensory qualities of plant-based meat alternatives has caused their nutritional and safety aspects to be overlooked. This paper reviews our current understanding of the nutrition and safety behind plant-based meat alternatives, proposing fermentation as a potential way of overcoming limitations in these aspects. Plant protein blends, fortification, and preservatives have been the main methods for enhancing the nutritional content and stability of plant-based meat alternatives, but concerns that include safety, nutrient deficiencies, low digestibility, high allergenicity, and high costs have been raised in their use. Fermentation with microorganisms such as Bacillus subtilis, Lactiplantibacillus plantarum, Neurospora intermedia, and Rhizopus oryzae improves digestibility and reduces allergenicity and antinutritive factors more effectively. At the same time, microbial metabolites can boost the final product’s safety, nutrition, and sensory quality, although some concerns regarding their toxicity remain. Designing a single starter culture or microbial consortium for plant-based meat alternatives can be a novel solution for advancing the health benefits of the final product while still fulfilling the demands of an expanding and sustainable economy.
... Additionally, regular consumers are constantly seeking out new and intriguing dishes. Consequently, it is worthwhile to explore alternative plant-based foods for everyday meals (McClements and Grossmann, 2021;Alae-Carew et al., 2022). These alternatives offer the advantage of requiring fewer resources for production while providing higher yields (Laassal and Kallas, 2016;Woodside et al., 2016). ...
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Introduction This study aimed to assess the feasibility of utilizing commercially available dairy starter cultures to produce yogurt-type fermented soy beverages and evaluate the fundamental properties of the resulting products. Methods Sixteen different starter cultures commonly used in the dairy industry for producing fermented milks, such as yogurt, were employed in the study. The study investigated the acidification curves, acidification kinetics, live cell population of starter microflora during refrigerated storage, pH changes, water-holding capacity, texture analysis, carbohydrates content, and fatty acid profile of the yogurt-type fermented soy beverage. Results and Discussion The results demonstrated that the starter cultures exhibited distinct pH changes during the fermentation process, and these changes were statistically significant among the cultures. The acidification kinetics of different cultures of lactic acid bacteria showed characteristic patterns, which can be used to select the most suitable cultures for specific product production. The study also revealed that the choice of starter culture significantly influenced the starter microorganisms population in the yogurt-type fermented soy beverage. Additionally, the pH values and water-holding capacity of the beverages were affected by both the starter cultures and the duration of refrigerated storage. Texture analysis indicated that storage time had a significant impact on hardness and adhesiveness, with stabilization of these parameters observed after 7–21 days of storage. Furthermore, the fermentation process resulted in changes in the carbohydrate content of the soy beverages, which varied depending on the starter culture used.
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Mushroom rural cultivation consumes averagely 6-month period, while urban cultivation takes only 10 days or less. In this study, mushroom biomass was grinded and converted into a flour to produce mushroom-chicken patties using Lingzhi and Enoki. The inclusion of Enoki in chicken patties (10%, 20% and 30%) indicates higher consumer acceptance significantly ( p > 0.05) compared to chicken patties with Lingzhi (10% and 20%). This analysis validated the concept of mushroom biomass as source of bioactive protein. On the other hand, 3kg dried mushroom-bioreactor biomass was produced using a heterotrophic 1m² fabricated-bioreactor, which answers the minimum requirement for protein content for 1 human per year. Together, these explain the significance of mushroom biomass in food security as a protein source and the synergy of mushroom rural-urban cultivation.
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In this study, the potential gastrointestinal fate of a plant-based chicken analog prepared using a soft matter physics approach was compared to that of real chicken breast. The chicken analog was created from potato protein and gellan gum using a complex coacervation-shearing-gelling approach. The INFOGEST static in vitro gastrointestinal model was then used to compare the digestion of the chicken analog to real chicken breast. Changes in the appearance, physiochemical properties, microstructure, protein digestion, and lipid digestion of the chicken samples were recorded after being subjected to simulated oral, gastric, and small intestine conditions. The protein digestibility of the plant-based chicken was higher than the real chicken after exposure to simulated stomach conditions, but it was lower after exposure to simulated small intestine conditions. The digestibility of the fat in the plant-based chicken was lower in the intestinal phase than that for the real chicken. This reduced digestibility of the fat and protein in the small intestine for the chicken analogs may have been because of the gellan gum they contained. This hydrocolloid increased the viscosity of the intestinal fluids and may have inhibited interactions between digestive enzymes and macronutrients. Our results have important implications for assessing the potential impacts of adopting a more plant-based diet on human health and wellbeing.
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In recent years, the replacement of synthetic colorants with natural ones has attracted increasing consumers’ and market interest. Natural colorants include different groups of pigments, many of which possess also pronounced biological potential. This review addresses the main issues related to the use of natural pigments in foods, starting from the sources available in nature, their chemical properties, stabilization processes, and applications in real foods, as discussed in the scientific literature reported in the main databases relevant to this topic (Scopus, Web of Science, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and Google Scholar). Notably, several natural pigments are available to cover different needs in terms of hues and intensities, and whose use is permitted in foods by the main regulatory agencies. However, their use is still frequently limited by their higher price and lower stability than synthetic counterparts. This review discusses in detail the main sources for natural pigments, focusing on the recent trends towards those more economically favorable, such as microbial sources and agro-industrial residues. It also examines the most suitable stabilization systems to protect the highly reactive and unstable molecules of natural pigments from negative physical and chemical changes, as well as to minimize the interactions with food systems.
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Proteins play many technological, physicochemical and sensory roles (i.e. functionalities) in foods, including solubility, emulsifying, gelling, foaming and flavour creation. In comparison with animal proteins, plant proteins have different structure, composition and food functionality. This review discusses how protein can be extracted from plant materials to produce protein‐rich ingredients for creating plant‐based foods. It explores the potential for a new generation of semi‐purified plant‐derived ingredients with greater sustainability and health benefits.
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Meat analogues can offer consumers a more sustainable alternative to meat. A successful meat analogue is characterized by a meat-like texture and high juiciness. Juiciness is related to the water holding capacity (WHC). To gain an understanding of how to control the WHC via external conditions, we investigate the effect of ionic strength and pH on water uptake. Model meat analogues were prepared in a Shear Cell and swollen in baths of known pH and ionic strength. The effect of bath composition on water uptake was determined experimentally, and simulated using on Flory-Rehner theory. Experiments and simulations were in qualitative agreement. The results show that water uptake increases with an increasing difference between bath pH and the protein’s iso-electric point (pI). At low ionic strengths, the internal pH is near the pI, resulting in reduced swelling. At high ionic strengths, the charge imbalance between gel and bath is limited, also resulting in reduced swelling. At intermediate ionic strengths, swelling increases with decreasing bath ionic strength. Cross-link density negatively relates to WHC and can be controlled via the addition of cross-linking and reducing agents. This work shows that by carefully choosing marinade pH and ionic strength, the WHC of meat analogues can be controlled. These advancements can help improve the sensory characteristics and yield of meat analogues and could enable the production of reduced-salt products.
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The interest in plant-based products is growing in Western countries, mostly due to health and environmental issues that arise from the consumption and production of animal-based food products. Many vegan products today are made from soy, but drawbacks include the challenges of cultivating soy in colder climates such as northern Europe. Therefore, the present study investigates whether industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) could substitute soy in the production of high moisture meat analogues (HMMA). A twin screw co-rotating extruder was used to investigate to what extent hemp protein concentrate (HPC) could replace soy protein isolate (SPI) in HMMAs. The substitution levels of HPC were 20 wt%, 40 wt% and 60 wt%. Pasting properties and melting temperature of the protein powders were characterized by Rapid Visco Analyzer (RVA) and Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), respectively and the produced HMMA was analysed by determining the texture and colour attributes. The results showed that it is possible to extrude a mixture with up to 60% HPC. HPC absorbed less water and needed a higher denaturing temperature compared to SPI. Increasing the moisture content by 5% would have resulted in a reduction of hardness and chewiness. The lightness (L* value) was found to be significantly higher in SPI product and decreased in the mixture with higher HPC (p < 0.05).
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The consumption of plant-based milk substitutes has spread rapidly around the world due to its numerous positive health effects on the human body. Individuals with cow’s milk allergy, lactose intolerance, and hypocholesterolemia prefer these beverages. In spite of the added sugar and lack of total protein content, phenolic compounds, unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidant activity, and bioactive compounds such as phytosterols and isoflavones make plant-based milk substitutes an excellent choice. In addition to the health effects, this review includes conventional and novel processes for 12 different plant-based milk substitutes including almond, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, peanut, sesame, soy, tiger nut, oat, rice, hemp, and walnut. The unique element of this review is our holistic approach in which 12 different plant-based milk substitutes production techniques are presented, including patents, the health effects of bioactive compounds, the bioavailability of vitamins and minerals, the market share, consumer acceptance, and the environmental impact.
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The definition of meat analog refers to the replacement of the main ingredient with other than meat. It also called a meat substitute, meat alternatives, fake or mock meat, and imitation meat. The increased importance of meat analog in the current trend is due to the health awareness among consumers in their diet and for a better future environment. The factors that lead to this shift is due to low fat and calorie foods intake, flexitarians, animal disease, natural resources depletion, and to reduce greenhouse gas emission. Currently, available marketed meat analog products are plant-based meat in which the quality (i.e., texture and taste) are similar to the conventional meat. The ingredients used are mainly soy proteins with novel ingredients added, such as mycoprotein and soy leghemoglobin. However, plant-based meat is sold primarily in Western countries. Asian countries also will become a potential market in the near future due to growing interest in this product. With the current advance technology, lab-grown meat with no livestock raising or known as cultured meat will be expected to boost the food market in the future. Also, insect-based products will be promising to be the next protein resource for human food. Nevertheless, other than acceptability, cost-effective, reliable production, and consistent quality towards those products, product safety is the top priority. Therefore, the regulatory frameworks need to be developed alongside.
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Consumers are increasingly interested in decreasing their dietary intake of animal-based food products, due to health, sustainability, and ethical concerns. For this reason, the food industry is creating new products from plant-based ingredients that simulate many of the physicochemical and sensory attributes associated with animal-derived foods, including milk, eggs, and meat. An understanding of how the ingredient type, amount, and organization influence the desirable physicochemical, sensory, and nutritional attributes of these plant-based foods is required to achieve this goal. A potential problem with plant-based diets is that they lack key micronutrients, such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, and ω-3 fatty acids. The aim of this review is to present the science behind the creation of next-generation nutritionally fortified plant-based milk substitutes. These milk-like products may be formed by mechanically breaking down certain plant materials (including nuts, seeds, and legumes) to produce a dispersion of oil bodies and other colloidal matter in water, or by forming oil-in-water emulsions by homogenizing plant-based oils and emulsifiers with water. A brief overview of the formulation and fabrication of plant-based milks is given. The relationship between the optical properties, rheology, and stability of plant-based milks and their composition and structure is then covered. Approaches to fortify these products with micronutrients that may be missing from a plant-based diet are also highlighted. In conclusion, this article highlights how the knowledge of structural design principles can be used to facilitate the creation of higher quality and more sustainable plant-based food products.
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Non-dairy milk alternatives (or milk analogues) are water extracts of plants and have become increasingly popular for human nutrition. Over the years, the global market for these products has become a multi-billion dollar business and will reach a value of approximately 26 billion USD within the next 5 years. Moreover, many consumers demand plant-based milk alternatives for sustainability, health-related, lifestyle and dietary reasons, resulting in an abundance of products based on nuts, seeds or beans. Unfortunately, plant-based milk alternatives are often nutritionally unbalanced, and their flavour profiles limit their acceptance. With the goal of producing more valuable and tasty products, fermentation can help to the improve sensory profiles, nutritional properties, texture and microbial safety of plant-based milk alternatives so that the amendment with additional ingredients, often perceived as artificial, can be avoided. To date, plant-based milk fermentation mainly uses mono-cultures of microbes, such as lactic acid bacteria, bacilli and yeasts, for this purpose. More recently, new concepts have proposed mixed-culture fermentations with two or more microbial species. These approaches promise synergistic effects to enhance the fermentation process and improve the quality of the final products. Here, we review the plant-based milk market, including nutritional, sensory and manufacturing aspects. In addition, we provide an overview of the state-of-the-art fermentation of plant materials using mono- and mixed-cultures. Due to the rapid progress in this field, we can expect well-balanced and naturally fermented plant-based milk alternatives in the coming years.
Understanding consumer perceptions of meat alternatives is key to facilitating a shift toward more sustainable food consumption. Importantly, these perceptions may vary according to the characteristics of the consumer (e.g., preferences, motivations), the product (e.g., sensory attributes) and the encounter (e.g., how the meat alternative is presented/framed). Qualitative and quantitative methods were applied to examine consumer perceptions of five proposed alternatives to meat: legumes, tofu, seitan, lab-grown meat, and insects. In Study 1, 138 participants provided free associations with regards to conventional animal proteins (e.g., red/white meat, fish) and the five alternatives. Three profiles of consumers were identified: (1) hedonically motivated meat eaters uninterested in meat substitutes; (2) health-oriented meat eaters open to some meat substitutes; and (3) ethically conscious meat avoiders positively oriented to most meat alternatives. In Study 2, the presentation of the product was experimentally manipulated: 285 participants evaluated the same five meat alternatives along several dimensions (e.g., edibility, healthiness), either when framed as an individual product or as part of a larger meal. Overall, most meat alternatives benefited from a meal framing, with the notable exception of legumes, which benefited from an individual framing, and insects which were evaluated quite negatively regardless of framing. The present findings suggest that there is not a single way to frame all meat alternatives that will improve their appeal to all consumers.
Background Plant-based meat alternatives are developed to address consumer demands and sustainability of future food supply, and the market has grown exponentially in recent years. Although progresses have been made to construct plant protein-based fibers organoleptically comparable to a whole-muscle cut, it remains challenging to reproduce the hierarchical organization of muscle tissue known to contribute to the overall sensory profile. For now, the market strategies are largely focused on restructured or formed meat mimeticks. Scope and approaches Literature search and supermarket surveys are conducted to identify processing technologies, product formulations, and the chemistry and functionality of various additives applied in meat alternatives production. Comparisons are made between muscle and legume proteins to elucidate disparities in macroscopic aggregation properties that may be greatly diminished through fabrication and ingredient innovation. Due to the highly formulated and processed nature, the nutrition, health, and safety of plant-based meat alternatives are analyzed. Key findings and conclusion Thermoextrusion is found to be the principal reconstructuring technique for meat-like fiber synthesis from plant proteins. Soy and pea proteins, gluten, and polysaccharides are the major building blocks. Through physicochemical interactions, plant proteins are able to aggregate into particles and anisotropic fibrils to impart meat-like texture and mouthfeel. Vegetable oil blends and spices are used to modify the texture and flavor; pigments are added to impart color; vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and antimicrobials are incorporated to boost nutrition and improve shelf-life. Opportunities exist to overcome technology obstacles and nutrition and safety challenges in further developing the alternatives market.