- International Flavors & Fragrances launched Supro Tex, a soy-based plant protein ingredient that can be made into products with a similar texture to chunks of whole muscle meat. It is fully manufactured in IFF’s facilities, meaning that companies using it don’t need new equipment or high moisture extrusion processes.
- Supro Tex comes as a dried protein, which makes it easy to transport and store. It can be hydrated with a variety of colors and flavors, and the ingredient can be used for plant-based beef, chicken, pork and lamb dishes, the company says.
- After years where the plant-based meat sector was dominated by burgers and chicken nuggets, many food makers are creating other products that are more like actual meat.
IFF’s Supro Tex makes strides in leveling the playing field for manufacturers looking to develop plant-based meat products that have a texture similar to actual meat.
Previously, manufacturers needed to develop their own ingredient blends and processes to create something that resembled meat. Supro Tex does that for them. IFF says the texture and appearance can vary based on how much the ingredient is hydrated. According to a product testing video featuring a chef from the French culinary school and research center Institut Paul Bocuse, unflavored Supro Tex has a neutral flavor.
The new ingredient is 80% protein, IFF says. Its use of soy gives it a protein profile comparable to animal meat.
This ingredient is the newest addition to IFF’s Re-Imagine Protein program, which is devoted to creating ingredients and technologies to accelerate growth in the plant-based sector. More than 40% of consumers are interested in plant-based meat products that have a similar taste and texture to actual meat, IFF said in a press release. As a result, there’s already a large market for Supro Tex.
Michel Mellema, global innovation director for IFF’s Re-Imagine Protein program, called the ingredient “a paradigm shift” in a statement. Even though IFF has the solutions and technical knowledge to support customers who use high-moisture extrusion technology, Mellema said that it isn’t appropriate for all people in the meat alternative space. Supro Tex readily delivers a similar product, the release states.
While this launch comes at a time when plant-based protein sales are slowing and the segment is seemingly less popular, this kind of ingredient could provide a jumpstart.
If more meat-like plant-based protein ingredients are available to a wider array of manufacturers, it could take away large barriers to developing plant-based products.
R&D and product formulation would not require highly technical ingredient combinations and capabilities to use plant proteins to resemble meat. Instead, it would be more like formulating a product with meat chunks or vegetables and coming up with the best combination of existing components.
Supro Tex also might help keep prices down for plant-based meat products. They’re generally priced at a premium, partially because companies are scaling up their technology and ingredients. IFF already has massive manufacturing capacity. It may not need to start this kind of plant-based ingredient at a higher price point.
However, the impact that Supro Tex has on the industry lies squarely with consumers. Analysts have said consumer dissatisfaction with some of the plant-based meat products on the market has hurt the entire segment. If the ingredient performs well from a taste and texture standpoint, is reasonably priced and manufacturers use it in products that consumers want to purchase, it could have a bright future.