Cellular Agriculture

Cultured and plant-based ingredients: the best of both worlds

Combining plant-based and cultured ingredients allows for the development of a new generation of products that have the potential to be tasty, healthy, affordable, and sustainable. Adding cultured chicken fat to a plant-based nugget could, for instance, provide the genuine taste of chicken as well as improving juiciness and meatiness, while the plant-based protein provides a convincing texture.

Alternative proteins are gaining momentum, with plant-based products increasingly mimicking the taste and texture of conventional animal-based products. Another approach to meeting consumers’ demand for tasty, healthy, sustainable, and ethical food products is cellular agriculture. Cellular agriculture allows for the production of conventional animal products through cell cultivation rather than animal slaughter. Companies are currently developing a wide array of food products we know and love, from cultured-beef burger patties, meatballs, and pork sausages to chicken nuggets and lobster, as well as key ingredients such as animal fat.

Cultured fat and plant-protein: promising complementary ingredients

Fat plays a key role in the experience of eating meat – it provides the specific taste, texture, and appealing juiciness that many people know and enjoy. Blending cultured fat and plant protein offers an exciting new product category.

These innovative hybrid products have the potential to not only replicate the sensory experience of eating meat, but also provide nutritional and health benefits. For example, cultured fat could reduce the sometimes long ingredient list of plant-based burger patties. In addition, saturated fatty acids that normally occur in meat could be replaced by omega fatty acids in order to create cholesterol-free products. Since the main purchase drivers for plant-based foods are taste and health1, hybrid products comprised of cultured and plant-based ingredients present a highly lucrative business opportunity.

Plant-based food companies are ready to embrace cultured ingredients

A 2020 study of plant-based food companies regarding their willingness to use cultured fat showed that 58% of plant-based food companies are likely or very likely to do so.2 Companies showed a stronger likelihood of using cultured fat if it improves taste and texture, at 66% and 68% respectively. 

Companies have already started working together to produce innovative hybrid products. Herotein, a Chinese plant-based company is partnering with Mission Barns, a US-based cultured-meat company, to develop products that combine Herotein’s plant protein and Mission Barns’ cultured fat. Mission Barns also recently announced a partnership  with Silvia Sausage in the US to produce tasty plant-based pork sausages made with cultured fat. 

ProVeg Recommends:

By combining plant-based and cultured ingredients, a new generation of sustainable and ethical food products can be developed, bringing tasty, healthy, and affordable diets to consumers around the world. 

  • Retailers – attend the next edition of the New Food Conference at Anuga and get to taste these incredible cultured products for yourself!
  • Producers – contact ProVeg for an introduction to the leading startups and developers who can supply cultured fats for use in your products. Just email [email protected] for a personalised high-level introduction.
  • Investors – check out our startup Incubator programme and take advantage of commercial white spaces for cultured meats and hybrid foods.
  • Consumers – be part of the sustainable food revolution. Take the Diet Change Not Climate Change pledge today!

References

  1. What consumers want: a survey on European consumer attitudes towards plant-based foods, with a focus on flexitarians’ European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (No 862957) (2021).
  2. Elizabeth Green (2020) Peace of Meat research finds plant-based meat producers keen on cultivated fat, Food Ingredients First. Available at: https://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/peace-of-meat-research-finds-plant-based-meat-producers-keen-on-cultivated-fat.html [14.12.2021]

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