Plant-based burger alternatives

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Plant-based burger alternatives are by far the most prominent product group within the plant-based meat surrogate products. In recent times they have become ever more significant and had media exposure, in particular »raw« burger patties. These products are similar to shaped patties made with minced meat and on frying they retain the typical burger structure.

They are made from three main ingredients. Textured proteins provide the typical product bite and also give the patties juiciness. Plant-based oils having a high melting point are the fat ingredient, for example coconut oil. Fibers and plant proteins, which take on the function of muscle protein as gelling agent, are used to hold everything together on being heated. Other ingredients that can be added include flavors and spices. The latter give these products their meat-like taste. Coloring ingredients such as red beet give the burgers the red color typical of raw meat. This changes to brown on heating.

Increasing demand for vegan burger alternatives

Industrial companies have already brought a variety of burger-patties based on plant ingredients into the marketplace. In particular, the rapid commercialization of several such products since the start of the year demonstrates the potential of textured protein ingredients and the demand is expected to increase further.

The textured protein ingredients used in commercial burgers - which are mostly from soy beans and wheat - have up until now not been specifically developed for burger patties and that is why many products do not have a meat-like bite. In order to mask the plant-like taste, extra flavors often also have to be added.

Customized burger alternatives from native raw materials

For the planned development work the Fraunhofer IVV will utilize its longstanding expertise in the recovery of plant proteins from native raw materials and their extrusion into textured protein ingredients, so called Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP). This will enable new and appealing burger alternatives to be developed that can be customized to the requirements of consumers with respect to the raw materials used, taste, and texture. By combining a variety of protein sources, the taste profile, texture, and biological quality can, for example, be considerably improved.

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