Written by : Satnam Singh and Rishika Batra on Digilah (Tech Thought Leadership)
The introduction of meat analogues in diet has been well prevalent since the 1960s mainly in the form of soy being the main substitute. However, since the past decade meat analogues have started to gain popularity and have become more mainstream. Past couple of years there has been a substantial increase in research and development in the alternative protein space. Taking into consideration climate change and decrease in lifespan of human beings, there has been an increase in awareness with respect to adopting diets which are healthier and more sustainable.
However, despite the potential benefits, consumer acceptance of these diets remains low, primarily due to the low sensory properties of meat analogues. Nevertheless, the development of meat analogue involves heavy reliance on artificial flavors to get a similar taste as that of traditional meat. Hence, making it difficult to get a clean label.
Using the right fat can improve the sensory properties of meat alternatives. The existing fats such as sunflower oil, canola oil and coconut oil have certain drawbacks. Sunflower oil and canola oil fail completely to provide animal fat like properties. Coconut oil remains one of the most commonly used fats. However, it has several setbacks such as low melting point, aftertaste, high saturated fat content and over-reliance on one type of plant oil with projections suggesting that 16% of the global supply chain may depend on it by 2030 (Good Food Institute).
Addressing these issues necessitates the development of innovative and eco-friendly alternatives for use in alternative meat products and beyond. It is also important to improve sensory characteristics like taste, texture, mouthfeel and appearance of plant based meat as compared to that of existing traditional meat.
To tackle this concern some of the recent developments in this sector include precision fermented fat and cultivated fat. Even though these approaches remain promising and have great potential with respect to producing fat with the composition similar to animal fat but there remain certain challenges such as high cost, scale up and product recovery in today’s date.
Hence, there remains a gap in the market with respect to providing affordable, nutritious, tasty and sustainable alternative fat.
Fattastic Technologies, a Singapore-based company has developed an Oil Structuring Technology which has the potential to provide a better, healthier, and quality fat alternative. Their technology can turn any plant-based oil into a solid with animal-fat-like characteristics, without hydrogenation. The technology is not only cost effective but also scalable in the long run.
Fig 1: Fattastic Technology: Ability to convert plant based liquid oil to solid fat with animal fat like characteristics.
In addition, Fattastic Technologies can produce fat with customisable melting temperature and texture and can encapsulate both hydrophilic and lipophilic bioactive molecules, hence enhancing the flavor, aroma, and nutritional properties of the product. As a result, Fattastic Fat’s technology can enrich the flavor of alternative protein products, increasing their appeal to consumers and accelerating their adoption in the market.
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