Plant-based meat substitutes


Meat alternatives from plant-based meat substitutes



  • Large demand for plant-based food products

  • Demand for plant-based meat substitutes with a fibrous texture

  • Simple processing




  • Meat-like texture due to the use of special extrusion technology

  • High protein content without chemical additives

  • Raw materials: peas, lupines, wheat, beans



  • Foundation of a new company:
    endori food GmbH & Co. KG

  • Range of products: z. B. schnitzel, nuggets, burger-patties, gyros

  • Product introduction: Scandinavia 2016, Germany 2017

Why are we developing plant-based meat alternatives?

Meat alternatives are products made from plant-based raw materials that have a meat-like taste and texture due to the manufacturing process and recipe. Over recently years growing awareness of health and environmental matters has led to a considerable increase in the demand for plant-based alternatives to meat in Europe. In Asia foods such as tofu, tempeh, and saitan have provided people with protein for centuries. In addition to these traditional Asian products, foods containing textured proteins that much better mimic the typical meat structure have also appeared in the European marketplace. These products are mostly manufactured via the cooking extrusion of deoiled soy flour, soy protein concentrates, or wheat gluten. This process gives the proteins an oriented, fibrous structure.

To increase consumer acceptance of these plant-based meat surrogates we are researching how to optimize their sensory quality, namely their taste, juiciness, and firmness of bite. Simultaneously we are striving to maximize the nutritional value of the products.

Product examples of plant-based meat alternatives

burger patties

  • processable like raw minced meat
  • juicy through the use of dry-textured proteins
  • nutritionally high-quality through the combination of different protein sources
  • sustainable due to regional raw materials

Vegetarian Schnitzel

  • muscle-meat-like fibre texture through wet extrusion process
  • meat-typical bite through targeted temperature control during extrusion
  • sensorically optimized by our sensor panel


  • flexible recipe design and variation of the taste profile through raw material selection
  • Variation of the fibre structure by adapting the nozzle geometry during extrusion
Mixture of seeds that can be used as protein raw materials
With mixtures of protein raw materials, the properties of meat alternatives can be changed.
Two employees in the food technology pilot plant at the twin screw extruder
The extrusion process has a decisive influence on the quality of the meat alternatives.
A vegan burger with Fraunhofer IVV paper flag, French fries, in front three glass bowls with the used vegan ingredients
The targeted selection of protein raw materials and the specific control of the extrusion process produces a texture similar to minced meat.

What factors influence the taste and texture of plant-based meat substitutes?

Besides soy and gluten, other protein sources are now used for manufacturing plant-based alternatives to meat. In particular, the combination of different plant-based materials improves the structure, better imitating the fibrous and juicy texture of lean meat. It is important here to understand the behavior of the various protein fractions during the manufacturing process and interactions between the recipe components. This enables recipes to be optimized and customized for respective consumer preferences and demands.

Production process for plant-based meat substitutes

The extrusion cooking process allows ingredients to be simultaneously mixed, kneaded and rapidly heated under pressure. Formulations with a high protein content are being used to make extrudates having a meat-like texture. Conventional extrusion processes use raw masses having a low moisture content. This produces granulates which, after rehydration, can be used as a substitute for minced meat in foods. However, when raw masses having a very high water content are cooked in the extrusion process and then cooled prior to exiting the nozzle in a laminar flow the result is fibrous protein structures. This process allows the scientists at the Fraunhofer IVV to make extrudates with an elastic, meat-like texture. These are then customized with flavorings and herb/spice mixtures and processed into finished foods.

Commercialization of our tasty meat substitute products with support of our research

Scientists at the Fraunhofer IVV have many years of experience manufacturing protein ingredients and characterizing their technological properties. This allows suitable proteins to be selected for the meat substitute products. We have a state-of-the-art food pilot plant available for developing products. A highly specialized sensory panel is available to appraise the products. These vegetarian products, like conventional meat products, are moist and so have special hygiene requirements with regards to packaging and storage. Experts in packaging and product safety at the Fraunhofer IVV can provide full support in this area.

Our research passes to our spin-off company, Amidori Food Company GmbH & Co.KG, and leads to the production of market-ready meat surrogate products. Products have already been successfully introduced in Germany and Scandinavia with the brand name M¡dori®.

Plant-based burger-patties are a special challenge

Whilst wet-extruded textured proteins have a structure akin to muscle fiber, dry extrudates have a more porous and harder structure. On rehydration they become like minced meat and are very suitable for making meat-free burger-patties. The quality of a plant-based burger is generally appraised by the extent to which its taste compares to a traditional minced meat burger. Although plant-based burgers naturally contain no meat, consumers demand that they appear and taste like meat burgers. On being fried the plant-based patties must retain their structure and not fall apart. Also, during the cooking the color must change from red to brown. Ready-to-eat plant-based patties must be juicy and have firmness of bite.

Our in-depth experience has given us a detailed understanding of the properties of different plant-based proteins. A customized combination of raw materials and specific control of the extrusion process enables us to tailor the taste, texture, and biological quality of the end products. Key parameters during the extrusion process are, for example, the screw configuration, nozzle geometry, speed, throughput, and temperature profile.