2020 seems to be the year of plant-based eruptions.
In January, more than 300,000 people supported the UK's "Vegetarian 2020" campaign. Many fast food restaurants and supermarkets in the UK have expanded their offerings into a popular plant-based movement. Innova Market Insights also listed "plant-based revolution" as the second trend in 2020; At the same time, Nelson's report shows that on top of last year's sales of plant-based foods of more than US$3.3billion, which is expected to exceed US$5billion by 2020.
The plant base is mainly supported by various plant proteins. What is the situation of vegetable protein market across the world? What are the driving forces behind plant protein development? What are the future application trends of plant protein in 2020? Please follow me to find out.
1. Global market for plant protein
According to Markets and Markets, the global plant protein Markets is expected to be worth US$18.5 billion in 2019, It is expected to grow at a CAgr of 14.0% starting in 2019 and reach US$40.6 billion by 2025. Plant-based protein products are derived from plants such as soybeans, wheat and peas. Plant protein applications include protein drinks, dairy substitutes, meat substitutes, protein bars, nutritional supplements, processed meat, poultry and seafood, baking, food and sports nutrition products. Plant protein applications can enhance the nutritional and functional properties of the product, such as texture, emulsifying properties, solubility, stability and adhesion etc.
The application of plant protein in new food and beverage products has also been increasing in the world. According to Innova's Global New Product Database, which tracks plant protein claims of new food and beverage products worldwide, between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of them continued growing, with the exception of North America, the Middle East and Africa. Despite the decline in North America, the share of new product releases in North America remains one of the world's leading, accounting for 15.4% of total new product releases in 2018. Plant protein claims in Asia were the most significant increase, accounting for 13.4% of all new releases in 2018, an increase of 2.4% from 2014.
2. Market Driving Force of Plant Protein
1）Increased number of new releases
In food and beverage industry, more and more new products will use plant protein as the main highlight of the product. According to innova Market Insights, new food and beverage releases with plant protein claims were tracked globally at a CAgr of + 9 % between 2014 and 2018.
2）Change of consumer eating habits, advocating " clean " diet
Consumers pay more attention to food sources, and plants are what they consider " clean " sources. The trend toward a " clean diet " is largely driven by millennials who prefer healthy, ethical, natural, less processed foods.
On the other hand, consumers' eating habits are gradually changing, they are reducing meats and more prone to vegetation protein. In the uk, the " vegetarian 2020 " campaign was supported by over 300,000 people and many fast-food restaurants and supermarkets in the UK have expanded their offerings to take part in a popular plant-based movement.
3）Large enterprises invest in vegetable protein market
Shandong Kawah Oils
Wonderful Industrial Group
Xinrui Group – Shandong Kawah Oils invetsted USD 45,000,000 in 2016 to establish 4 soy protein isolate production lines with the output of 6000 tons annually based on the 12- year-old soybean oil extracting factory.
China had the largest capacity to process as much as 79 percent of global soy protein isolate, the total capacity is 500000 t/y and the actual producing amount in total is 350000t in 2019.
ADM (US) and DuPont (US) are the two giants in the global market. These companies have made expansion and investment the main strategy for expanding their market in plant protein. In January 2019, ADM expanded its presence in Brazil with the construction of a new soy protein production base in Campo Grande, South Mato Grosso State, Brazil, valued at USD 250,000,000. The company will produce a range of functional protein concentrates and isolates for ADM's current product line.
3. Application Trend of Plant Protein
1）Soy protein is expected to dominate the market in the next 5 years, with the emerging of pea and oat protein as the new trend.
Soy protein is widely used in the food and beverage industry due to the demand for high protein diet and the increasing popularity of soy protein. In a survey of plant protein sources by Aritzon in 1919, soy protein topped the list at US $3.12 billion. According to Innova data, soy protein was the leading ingredient in food and beverage new products announced by plant protein between 2014 and 2018, with 9% of related new products adopted. Soy protein helps lower cholesterol levels, improves metabolism, bone density, and can also reduce the risk of cancer. Soy protein isolate can be used in nutrition bars, meat substitutes, baking products, sports nutrition products and beverages, etc.
Apart from soy, pea protein consumption has increased rapidly in recent years. Global pea protein consumption has doubled from 2015, according to data from food company technical adviser enk Hoogenkamp, to 275000 tons, by 2020. Its consumption will grow 30% to 580000 tons by 2025.
Oat protein is also a kind of great potential plant protein. Oat contents 19% of protein, oat protein is rich in amino acids and essential amino acids, is a high-quality nutritional protein. Oat milk is a newly developed non-dairy vegetable milk. There are many functional similarities between oat milk and milk. Both are creamy and have a smooth texture and consistency. According to Mintel data, the European market in April 2017 to March 2018 listed new products, oat-based drinks and yogurt accounted for 14.8 percent, compared with 9.8 percent a year earlier.
2）Protein ssolate expected to dominate plant protein market in the next 5 years
Protein Isolate contains high Protein content and digestibility. Protein isolates are widely used in protein- and nutrition-related applications such as sports nutrition, protein drinks, and nutritional supplements. In recent years, because of its different functional characteristics, it has been widly used in a variety of beverages and dairy products to cater for athletes, body builders, vegetarians.
3) Sports nutrition, snacks are the application trend
Sports nutrition products and snacks are the trend for future applications. According to Innova Market Insights, the Global New Product Database tracks the launch of a new food and beverage product with plant protein claims, The growth of sports nutrition category is the most obvious, with an average annual compound growth rate of 32% from 2014 to 2018, followed by snack, with an average annual cgr of 14%.
Protein nutrition bar originally belongs to sports nutrition, with the upgrading of consumer awareness, it gradually moved closer to the category of snacks. Today, protein bars are not just for athletes, but also for the average consumer looking for a nutrient bar for breakfast or a daily snack.
The Application of Plant Protein in Protein Nutrition Bar in Recent Years：
BEKIND Nuts bar
PhD Nutrition Bar
64g (per piece) contains 23g vege protein.
Probar Energy Bar
Each Probar contains 1 billion 10 active probiotics and 10g of vege protein.
Dang Nutrition Bar
Each bar has 9-10g of vegetable protein, gluten free.
Blake’s Protein Bar
2020 seems to be the year of plant-based eruptions and the Nutrition Bar is the most popular in snack. Mars launched the BEKIND nut bar, aiming at post-exercise energy supplement and meal replacement scene in Dec., 2019, also trends to Chinese New Year snack gift pack. Can plant protein follow the trend and stack up in nutrition bars? We'll see.
1. Plant-based Protein Market by Type (Isolates, Concentrates, Protein Flour), Application (Protein Beverages, Dairy Alternatives, Meat Alternatives, Protein Bars, Processed Meat, Poultry & Seafood, Bakery Product), Source, and Region - Global Forecast to 2025，Markets and Markets
2. Creation of Plant Protein, Innova Market Insights
3. PLANT-BASED PROTEIN MARKET GLOBAL OUTLOOK & FORECAST 2020−2025，Arizton.
It is known that hydrolyzed wheat protein is good for the body, but what exactly does it do? What are the advantages of Wheat Protein Isolates? Why is hydrolyzed wheat protein good for health?
l What is hydrolyzed wheat protein
l What is the function of hydrolyzed wheat protein
l What are the characteristics of hydrolyzed wheat protein
What is hydrolyzed wheat protein
1. Wheat contains about 13% protein, mainly composed of albumin, globulin, gliadin and glutenin, while wheat gluten mainly contains gliadin and gluten. Protein, collectively known as storage protein (80% of the dry basis of wheat protein).
2. Due to the ductility of gliadin and the elasticity of glutenin, it can form a network structure with water, so it has excellent viscoelasticity, extensibility, water absorption, liposuction and emulsification, film forming properties, and light and mellow aroma or slightly grainy unique physical properties such as taste.
What is the function of hydrolyzed wheat protein
wheat proteins can be divided into monomeric proteins (consisting of one peptide chain) and aggregated proteins (consisting of two or more peptide chains) according to the number of peptide chains constituting the protein. About 85% of the aggregate protein is glutenin, and the monomeric protein is mainly composed of gliadin, albumin and globulin. Albumin and globulin are mainly deposited in the embryo and aleurone layer, and a small part exists in the endosperm, with a molecular mass of 12-60 kDa, containing more lysine, tryptophan and methionine, which are the most important components in the cell. The enzyme protein is involved in various metabolisms, and the nutritional balance is better, which determines the nutritional quality of wheat.
What are the characteristics of hydrolyzed wheat protein
1. The relative molecular mass of wheat gliadin is 27000-28000. It is a kind of polymer with the highest solubility in 60%-70% ethanol, but insoluble in absolute ethanol. It is slightly soluble in water, can be dissolved in dilute formic acid, propionic acid, benzene, alcohol, p-toluene glacial acetic acid solution, also can be dissolved in weak acid and weak base solution, its isoelectric point is 6.41～7.1. The amino acid composition of wheat gliadin is quite complete, in which the content of glutamic acid is as high as 38.87%, so wheat gluten is often used to prepare MSG.
2. Glutenin is insoluble in water and alcohol, and it is difficult to separate when combined with gliadin. It is slightly soluble in hot ethanol, but after cooling, it becomes flocculent and precipitates. Only newly prepared glutenin that has not been dried is very easy to dissolve. In weak bases and weak acids, and precipitate out during neutralization. Wheat albumin is 0.3% to 0.4% of the mass of the grain, and its isoelectric point is 4.5 to 4.6.
If you are looking for a good quality and reasonable price of hydrolyzed wheat protein,Xinrui Group can provide you with the best
P.1: Xinrui Group – Plantation Base – N-GMO Soybean Plants
Soybeans were cultivated in Asia about 3,000 years ago. Soy was first introduced to Europe in the early 18th century and to British colonies in North America in 1765, where it was first grown for hay. Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter in 1770 mentioning bringing soybeans home from England. Soybeans did not become an important crop outside of Asia until about 1910. Soy was introduced to Africa from China in the late 19th Century and is now widespread across the continent.
In America soy was considered an industrial product only and not used as a food prior to the 1920’s. Traditional non-fermented food uses of soybeans include soy milk and from the latter tofu and tofu skin. Fermented foods include soy sauce, fermented bean paste, natto, and tempeh, among others. Originally, soy protein concentrates and isolates were used by the meat industry to bind fat and water in meat applications and to increase protein content in lower grade sausages. They were crudely refined and if added at above 5% amounts, they imparted a “beany” flavor to the finished product. As technology advanced soy products were refined further and exhibit a neutral flavor today.
In the past the soybean industry begged for acceptance but today soybean products can be found in every supermarket. Differently flavored soy milk and roasted soybeans lie next to almonds, walnuts and peanuts. Today soy proteins are considered not just a filler material, but a “good food” and are used by athletes in diet and muscle building drinks or as refreshing fruit smoothies.
P.2: Xinrui Group –N-GMO Soybeans
Soybeans are considered to be a source of complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body’s inability to synthesize them. For this reason soy is a good source of protein amongst many others for vegetarians and vegans or for people who want to reduce the amount of meat they eat. They can replace meat with soy protein products without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the diet. From the soybean many other products are obtained such as: soy flour, textured vegetable protein, soy oil, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, soy yoghurt, soy milk and animal feed for farm raised fish, poultry and cattle.
The dramatic increase in interest in soy products is largely credited to the 1995 ruling of the Food and Drug Administration allowing health claims for foods containing 6.25 g of protein per serving. The FDA approved soy as an official cholesterol-lowering food along with other heart and health benefits. The FDA granted the following health claim for soy: “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Soy flour is made by milling soybeans. Depending on the amount of oil extracted the flour can be full-fat or de-fatted. It can be made as fine powder or more coarse soy grits. Protein content of different soy flours:
Full-fat soy flour - 35%.
Low-fat soy flour - 45%.
Defatted soy flour - 47%.
Soybeans contain all three of the nutrients required for good nutrition: complete protein, carbohydrate and fat as well as vitamins and minerals including calcium, folic acid and iron. The composition of soy protein is nearly equivalent in quality to meat, milk and egg protein. Soybean oil is 61% polyunsaturated fat and 24% monounsaturated fat which is comparable to the total unsaturated fat content of other vegetable oils. Soybean oil contains no cholesterol.
Commercially processed meats contain soy protein today throughout the world. Soy proteins are used in hot dogs, other sausages, whole muscle foods, salamis, pepperoni pizza toppings, meat patties, vegetarian sausages etc. Hobbyist have also discovered that adding some soy protein allowed them to add more water and improved the texture of the sausage. It eliminated shrivelling and made the sausage plumper.
Soy concentrates and isolates are used in sausages, burgers and other meat products. Soy proteins when mixed with ground meat will form a gel upon heating, entrapping liquid and moisture. They increase firmness and juiciness of the product and reduce cooking loss during frying. In addition they enrich the protein content of many products and make them healthier by reducing the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol that otherwise would be present. Soy protein powders are the most commonly added protein to meat products at around 2-3% as the larger amounts may impart a “beany” flavor to the product. They bind water extremely well and cover fat particles with fine emulsion. This prevents fats from lumping together. The sausage will be juicier, plumper and have less shrivelling.
Soy protein concentrate (about 60% protein), is a natural product that contains around 60% protein and retains most of the soybean’s dietary fiber. SPC can bind 4 parts of water. However, soy concentrates do not form the real gel as they contain some of the insoluble fiber that prevents gel formation; they only form a paste. This does not create a problem as the sausage batter will never be emulsified to the extent that the yoghurt or smoothie drinks are. Before processing, soy protein concentrate is re-hydrated at a ratio of 1:3.
Soy protein isolate, is a natural product that contains at least 90% protein and no other ingredients. It is made from de-fatted soy meal by removing most of the fats and carbohydrates. Therefore, soy protein isolate has a very neutral flavour compared to other soy products. As soy protein isolate is more refined, it costs slightly more than soy protein concentrate. Soy protein isolate can bind 5 parts of water. Soy isolates are excellent emulsifiers of fat and their ability to produce the real gel contributes to the increased firmness of the product. Isolates are added to add juiciness, cohesiveness, and viscosity to a variety of meat, seafood, and poultry products.
P.3: Xinrui Group –Ruiqianjia Brand ISP – Good gel and emulsification.
For making quality sausages the recommended mixing ratio is 1 part of soy protein isolate to 3.3 parts of water. SPI is chosen for delicate products that require superior flavor such as yoghurt, cheese, whole muscle foods and healthy drinks. Isolated Soy protein manufactured by Xinrui Group - Shandong Kawah Oils and exported by Guanxian Ruichang Trading usually contains 90% of protein.
P.4: N-GMO –SPI Made by Xinrui Group - Shandong Kawah Oils
Our new factory, which will manufacture wheat gluten 70,000tons, wheat starch 120,000 tons is being constructed. The workshop is being built according to GMP standard, will become the largest wheat industry chain in China, even the World. We always pursue excellent products and professional service; very welcome all customers both from China and abroad visiting our Group, to create magnificent future together!
Guanxian Xinrui Group is located in Guanxian Industrial Zone, founded in 2003, covers an area of more than 700 fields, with a total assets of 1.3 billion yuan, more than 1,000 employees. Based on the strategy of comprehensive utilization of resources, energy saving and emission reduction, and environmental protection, the overall industrial layout of the company has been developing for more than ten years, has developed into a scientific and technological research and development, intensive processing of agricultural products, import and export trade as one of the provincial key leading enterprises in agricultural industrialization. The way of zero-emission circular economy development from wheat and soybean primary processing, intensive processing, sewage treatment, reclaimed water reuse to sludge production of organic fertilizer for soil improvement and rehabilitation has been preliminarily realized. The company's brand products sell well around more than 20 provinces and cities, and exported to Southeast Asia, South, the Middle East, Norway, Russia and more than 40 countries and regions, product quality excellence, well received by customers at home and abroad. Has been identified by the Shandong provincial government as "Provincial-level key, leading enterprises in agricultural industrialization in Shandong province”, and the top 10 grain and oil industrial park.
The company at this stage vigorously develops wheat, soybean two major circular economy industrial chains.
The group began to develop 300,000 tons of wheat processing industry in 2007. The industry chain is to give priority to extracting high value-added refined flour from wheat. Vital Wheat gluten and superior starch were extracted from secondary flour with lower added value by downstream workshop, (Vital Wheat Gluten is used in high-gluten flour compounding, vegetarian food processing, and superior starch is used in the processing of Vermicelli, cold powder and other products.) The starch pulp composed of residual secondary starch and Pentosan was used to extract food-grade alcohol and medical alcohol through saccharification and fermentation in the production line of alcohol.
On the basis of summarizing the successful experience of wheat industry chain, the company developed 180,000 tons of soybean deep processing industry chain in 2015. Non-GMO soybean oil and food-grade soybean meal were produced from non-GMO soybean. Soybean meal can be used in food processing industry such as 1,000-page Bean Curd, meatball, ham, chafing dish and so on, it can be used in industries such as ketchup and dietary supplement.
The high concentration organic wastewater from the production of wheat and soybean industry chain was transported to the wastewater treatment plant. The remaining high-concentration organic wastewater is converted into biogas by anaerobic fermentation, and the biogas is purified and desulphurized, and then used in power generation or steam supply industry chain. After anaerobic treatment of wastewater by aerobic treatment and then advanced treatment to achieve the recycling water standard as heat and power co-generation boiler make-up water, industrial chain recycling water. The sludge from sewage treatment was fermented at high temperature after dehydration and processed into organic fertilizer, which was used to improve the soil remediation and improve the yield and quality of crops. The wheat and soybean produced by the base are used as raw materials in the industrial chain, thus realizing the development of closed-cycle economy from wheat and soybean planting, intensive processing, sewage treatment to soil improvement and rehabilitation of the planting base.
The 2021 Company actively adapts to the new situation, develops new forms of business, relies on the national rural revitalization industrial policy, takes the industrial prosperity as the lead, encircles the agricultural circular economy chain to extend the strong chain, raises the file to upgrade, an investment of 220 million yuan will be made to build a new project for intensive processing of highly efficient circular agricultural products. The first phase of the project started construction in February of 21, and the trial operation was realized at the end of December. By means of upgrading and building new production line, the project improves the original gluten production line, three new wheat gluten production lines, two wheat starch production lines, sludge and production waste material conversion of organic fertilizer production lines, the project to low value-added secondary flour as raw materials, to build digital, intelligent chemical plants, reduce labor by 40% and energy consumption by 15% , and realize on-line quality real-time monitoring, standardized production, greatly improve product quality, to meet the differentiated and specific needs of different customers, at the same time into the terminal market, the product directly to the dinner table. By upgrading the advanced treatment process of wastewater to further improve the utilization rate of water resources; by reusing sludge and production waste into organic fertilizer back to the field, raw materials are all eaten and squeezed, leaving no waste, finally achieve the whole industry chain of green closed-loop management.
The company’s main products are Vital Wheat Gluten, wheat starch, food-grade alcohol, non-GMO soybean oil, soy protein isolate, soybean dietary fiber, etc. , among them, Vital Wheat Gluten, soy protein isolate and soybean dietary fiber products are exported to more than 40 countries and regions, and are the key export enterprises in Liaocheng (Guanxian Ruichang Trading Co. , Ltd.) . With the continuous development and growth of the company, the management system has been gradually internationalized, certification through the most stringent food quality and safety system, such as BRC, HACCP, ISO 9000 & 14000, HALAL, KOSHER and so on. In order to open up the market and stable market, we actively participate in various industry exhibitions and seminars at home and abroad, and achieved good results.
The company insists the concept of“Integrity”, “Competition”, “Responsibility” and“Innovation” and the core values, and Shandong Liaocheng University‘s Dongchang College, Institute of Agricultural Product Processing, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and other institutions of high-standard learning, and actively recruit external professional engineers, and constantly develop high-tech, distinctive and competitive products. It is implementing projects such as wheat silk protein, soybean protein concentrate, anhydrous ethanol, high-temperature fermentation of sludge organic fertilizer, high-efficiency wastewater reuse, etc. . At the same time, the company continues to upgrade through technology, optimize existing projects, and improve the management level, product quality to obtain continuous recognition and support of customers.
Looking forward to the future, with the continuous care of government departments at all levels, the group’s chairman, General Manager and colleagues in the strong cooperation, the company has always insisted on standardized management, stable development, and seek opportunities in stability, to seek development in reform, to insist on development and management as an important task, to emphasize the quality of economic operation, to make full use of the company's overall advantages, to actively adjust business strategies, and to strengthen the control of business risks, following the development path of scientific and technological innovation and constantly exploring new products, adhering to the policy of independent development and co-existence of industry, university and research, and planning and layout in accordance with industry standards and requirements, to condense the technology target, improve the innovation ability and train the high-quality scientific research personnel, to realize the industrialization of science and technology, to develop more high-tech products to meet the market demand, to produce the generation, to reserve the generation, to develop a new generation of plant protein extraction and application enterprises with sustainable and innovative development, to promote scientific and technological progress in the industry and strive to be a leader in the industry, we are committed to making Xinrui group a leading plant protein production base in China.
Soya Beans And Milk
Soy protein is a type of protein which comes from soybean plants.
It comes in 3 different forms – soy flour, concentrates, and soy protein isolates.
The isolates are commonly used in protein powders and health supplements due to their muscle-building qualities.
Soy protein contains essential amino acids which cannot be produced naturally by the body. For this reason, many people on a restricted diet, like vegetarians, consume soy protein supplements for nutritional benefits.
Due to its high volume of amino acids, soy protein is considered to be a “complete protein” by nutritionists, containing similar benefits to the protein found in legume pulses.
It is also one of the cheapest supplemental sources of protein and can be found in foods such as tofu and soy milk.
Soy protein isolate is often used in protein shakes as an alternative to whey, which some people can be sensitive to or avoid consuming for dietary reasons.
What are the types of Soy Protein?
There are two main different types of soy protein – soy protein isolate （Ruiqianjia brand） and soy protein concentrate. Both of these products come from soybean meal, which is then dehulled and defatted before being processed into different parts.
The isolate is a powdered protein supplement which is common in soy protein shakes and supplements. Isolate is 90-95% protein and contains almost no fat or carbohydrates.
Soy protein concentrate, on the other hand, is manufactured by taking the dehulled/defatted soybean meal and removing some of the carbohydrates from it. It is often used in baking, cereals, and as an ingredient for various food products.The concentrate is very easy to digest and contains a lot of fiber, so it is often recommended for children, elderly people, and pregnant women who need to keep a close eye on their health.
Soy Protein Benefits
According to the Food & Drug Administration in the US, soy protein can be used as a good substitute for animal products in a plant-based diet.
2.Fights Heart Problems
Soy reduces LDL cholesterol levels in your body, which is instrumental in fighting heart disease problems.
3.Great for Bone Health
Soy contains phytoestrogen, which makes it easier to absorb calcium. As a result, many soy protein supplements come fortified with calcium, helping to increase your calcium intake. This helps to prevent a loss in bone mass and fights against osteoporosis, a condition where your bones deteriorate as you get older.
4. Increases Energy
Undergoing some intense exercise? Doing some mad workouts at the gym? Soy contains amino acids which can be used by the body and converted into energy. This way, soy protein not only helps you with muscle-building – it also keeps your energy up when you’re working hard to acquire that lean muscle mass!
5. Helps to Prevent Cancer
Soy contains genistein-phytochemicals that have been found to lower risks of prostate cancer and breast cancer, making it attractive to both male and female health nuts alike. The genistein found in soy protein can actually stop tumor cells from growing altogether, halting cancer in its tracks before it can develop and get worse.
Xinrui Group – Shandong Kawah Oils: factory direct export good quality isolated soy protein.
Soy dietary fiber is derived from the cell wall material of soybean cotyledon. It is composed of a complex matrix of insoluble fiber, soluble fiber and protein. In many products like ice cream, bread food and drink etc. Soy dietary fiber can increase final products' water-binding ability and formability. Soya dietary fibre is wildly used in Nutritional food, Dietary food, Fast food, Seasoning products, Meat products, Bread and so on.
Application: meat products, quick-frozen products, bakery, tomato sauce, ketchup, heath products, fat-free food, low-fat and low-sugar food and high fiber food.
- Good color and luster, excellent flavor.
- Excellent water-holding and expansibility. To enhance moisture and defer aging when added into the food.
- Excellent property of emulsifying, suspension and thickening.
Packing: 20kgs per plastic-paper bag with separate inner PE liner.
Keep from rain and humidity during transportation and storage, forbidden to pack or store with other odorants.
Best temperature for storage is below 25, keep ventilation and dryness.
Shelf life is 12 months.
The new generation of veggie burgers aims to replace the beefy original with fake meat or fresher vegetables. To find out how well they do, we ran a blind tasting of six top contenders. By Julia Moskin.
In just two years, food technology has moved consumers from browsing for wan “veggie patties” in the frozen aisle to selecting fresh “plant-based burgers” sold next to the ground beef.
Behind the scenes at the supermarket, giant battles are being waged: Meat producers are suing to have the words “meat” and “burger” restricted to their own products. Makers of meat alternatives like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are vying to capture the global fast-food market, as big players like Tyson and Perdue join the fray. Environmental and food scientists are insisting that we eat more plants and less processed food. Many vegetarians and vegans say the goal is to break the habit of eating meat, not feed it with surrogates.
“I would still prefer to eat something that’s not lab-grown,” said Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the chef at the vegan restaurant Modern Love in Omaha, where her own burger is the most popular dish on the menu. “But it’s better for people and for the planet to eat one of those burgers instead of meat every day, if that’s what they are going to do anyway.”
The new refrigerator-case “meat” products already comprise one of the fastest-growing segments of the food industry.
Some are proudly high-tech, assembled from an array of starches, fats, salts, sweeteners and synthetic umami-rich proteins. They are made possible by new technologies that, for example, whip coconut oil and cocoa butter into tiny globules of white fat that give the Beyond Burger the marbled appearance of ground beef.
Others are resolutely simple, based on whole grains and vegetables, and reverse-engineered with ingredients like yeast extract and barley malt to be crustier, browner and juicier than their frozen veggie-burger predecessors. (Some consumers are turning away from those familiar products, not only because of the taste, but because they are most often made with highly processed ingredients.)
But how do all the newcomers perform at the table?
The Times restaurant critic Pete Wells, our cooking columnist Melissa Clark and I lined up both kinds of new vegan burgers for a blind tasting of six national brands. Though many people have already tasted these burgers in restaurants, we wanted to replicate the experience of a home cook. (To that end, Melissa and I roped in our daughters: my 12-year-old vegetarian and her 11-year-old burger aficionado.)
Each burger was seared with a teaspoon of canola oil in a hot skillet, and served in a potato bun. We first tasted them plain, then loaded with our favorites among the classic toppings: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles and American cheese. Here are the results, on a rating scale of one to five stars.
1. Impossible Burger
Maker Impossible Foods, Redwood City, Calif.
Slogan “Made From Plants For People Who Love Meat”
Selling points Vegan, gluten-free.
Price $8.99 for a 12-ounce package.
Tasting notes “The most like a beef burger by far,” was my first scribbled note. Everyone liked its crisp edges, and Pete noted its “brawny flavor.” My daughter was convinced it was a real ground beef patty, slipped in to confuse us. The only one of the six contenders that includes genetically modified ingredients, the Impossible Burger contains a compound (soy leghemoglobin) created and manufactured by the company from plant hemoglobins; it quite successfully replicates the “bloody” look and taste of a rare burger. Melissa deemed it “charred in a good way,” but, like most plant-based burgers, it became rather dried out before we finished eating.
Ingredients: Water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, natural flavors, 2 percent or less of: potato protein, methylcellulose, yeast extract, cultured dextrose, food starch-modified, soy leghemoglobin, salt, soy protein isolate, mixed tocopherols (vitamin E), zinc gluconate, thiamine hydrochloride (vitamin B1), sodium ascorbate (vitamin C), niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin B12.
2. Beyond Burger
Maker Beyond Meat, El Segundo, Calif.
Slogan “Go Beyond”
Selling points Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-G.M.O.
Price $5.99 for two four-ounce patties.
Tasting notes The Beyond Burger was “juicy with a convincing texture,” per Melissa, who also commended its “roundness, with lots of umami.” Her daughter identified a faint but pleasing smoky flavor, reminiscent of barbecue-flavored potato chips. I liked its texture: crumbly but not dry, as a burger should be. This burger was the most visually similar to one made of ground beef, evenly marbled with white fat (made from coconut oil and cocoa butter) and oozing a bit of red juice, from beets. Over all, Pete said, a “real beefy” experience.
Ingredients: Water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, cocoa butter, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, potato starch, apple extract, salt, potassium chloride, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin, pomegranate fruit powder, beet juice extract (for color).
3. Lightlife Burger
Maker Lightlife/Greenleaf Foods, Toronto
Slogan “Food That Shines”
Selling points Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, non-G.M.O.
Price $5.99 for two four-ounce patties.
Tasting notes “Warm and spicy” with a “crisp exterior” according to Melissa, the Lightlife burger is a new offering from a company that has been making burgers and other meat substitutes from tempeh (a fermented soy product with a sturdier texture than tofu) for decades. That’s probably why it nailed the “firm and chewy texture” that I found a little bready, but “not worse than most fast-food burgers.” “Pretty good when loaded up” was Pete’s final verdict.
Ingredients: Water, pea protein, expeller-pressed canola oil, modified cornstarch, modified cellulose, yeast extract, virgin coconut oil, sea salt, natural flavor, beet powder (for color), ascorbic acid (to promote color retention), onion extract, onion powder, garlic powder.
4. Uncut Burger
Maker Before the Butcher, San Diego
Slogan “Meaty but Meatless”
Selling points Vegan, gluten-free, non-G.M.O.
Price $5.49 for two four-ounce patties, available later this year.
Tasting notes The Uncut Burger, so named by the manufacturer to imply the opposite of a cut of meat, actually rated among the meatiest of the bunch. I was impressed by its slightly chunky texture, “like good coarse-ground beef,” but Melissa felt it made the burger fall apart “like wet cardboard.” The taste seemed “bacony” to Pete, perhaps because of the “grill flavor” and “smoke flavor” listed in the formula. (To food manufacturers, they are not quite the same thing: one is intended to taste of charring, the other of wood smoke.)
Ingredients: Water, soy protein concentrate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, isolated soy protein, methylcellulose, yeast extract (yeast extract, salt, natural flavor), caramel color, natural flavor (yeast extract, maltodextrin, salt, natural flavors, medium chain triglycerides, acetic acid, grill flavor [from sunflower oil], smoke flavor), beet juice powder (maltodextrin, beet juice extract, citric acid), natural red color (glycerin, beet juice, annatto), citric acid.
Maker Field Roast, Seattle
Slogan “Plant-Based Artisanal Meats”
Selling points Vegan, soy-free, non-G.M.O.
Price About $6 for four 3.25-ounce patties.
Tasting notes Not much like meat, but still “much better than the classic” frozen vegetarian patties, to my mind, and the consensus choice for a good vegetable burger (rather than a meat replica). Tasters liked its “vegetal” notes, a reflection of the onions, celery and three different forms of mushroom — fresh, dried and powdered — on the ingredients list. There was some crispness to like in the crust, according to Pete, but the bready interior (it contains gluten) was not popular. “Maybe this burger would do better without a bun?” he asked.
Ingredients: Vital wheat gluten, filtered water, organic expeller-pressed palm fruit oil, barley, garlic, expeller-pressed safflower oil, onions, tomato paste, celery, carrots, naturally flavored yeast extract, onion powder, mushrooms, barley malt, sea salt, spices, carrageenan (Irish moss sea vegetable extract), celery seed, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, shiitake mushrooms, porcini mushroom powder, yellow pea flour.
6. Sweet Earth Fresh Veggie Burger
Maker Sweet Earth Foods, Moss Landing, Calif.
Slogan “Exotic by Nature, Conscious by Choice”
Selling points Vegan, soy-free, non-G.M.O.
Price About $4.25 for two four-ounce patties.
Tasting notes This burger is sold only in flavors; I chose Mediterranean as the most neutral. Tasters liked the familiar profile of what Melissa declared “the burger for people who love falafel,” made mostly from chickpeas and bulked out with mushrooms and gluten. (Called “vital wheat gluten” on ingredient lists, it is a concentrated formulation of wheat gluten, commonly added to bread to make it lighter and chewier, and the main ingredient in seitan.) The burger wasn’t meaty, but had “nutty, toasted grain” notes that I liked from brown rice, and whiffs of spices like cumin and ginger. This burger is a longtime market leader, and Sweet Earth was recently acquired by Nestlé USA on the strength of it; the company is now introducing a new plant-meat contender called the Awesome Burger.
Ingredients: Garbanzo beans, mushroom, vital wheat gluten, green peas, kale, water, bulgur wheat, barley, bell peppers, carrot, quinoa, extra-virgin olive oil, red onion, celery, flax seed, cilantro, garlic, nutritional yeast, granulated garlic, sea salt, ginger, granulated onion, lime juice concentrate, cumin, canola oil, oregano.