- Givaudan has introduced PrimeLock+, an integrated technology that encapsulates and protects the flavor and fat within plant-based meat substitutes, gradually releasing them during the cooking process and consumption, according to the Switzerland-based company.
- Because only a small amount of oil is trapped, PrimeLock+ can reduce fat content in a final product by up to 75% and calories by 30%, according to Givaudan. It also improves the stability of plant-based meat since the technology separates flavors from proteins, the company said.
- With meat-like taste and juiciness key to winning skeptical consumers over to plant-based varieties, ingredient manufacturers are focusing not just on meeting their expectations, but also delivering a sustainable experience.
A dry, overcooked burger: For consumers of beef-based varieties, there may be nothing worse. For those who choose plant-based alternatives, this has often been an expected, if unfortunate part of trying to eat healthier.
The riddle that ingredient manufacturers such as Givaudan have attempted to solve is how to prevent the general degradation of flavor and juiciness during the cooking process of a plant-based meat. In a promotional video for PrimeLock+, Givaudan notes that meat alternatives often have vegetable fats and flavors mixed directly into the ingredient base, leaving them unprotected and prone to draining out as the temperature rises.
PrimeLock+ is a flavor matrix that contains 25% coconut oil encapsulated in a continuous matrix, which helps retain most of the coconut flavor and fat during cooking, Flavio Garofalo, Givaudan’s global category director of savory and naturals, told Food IngredientsFirst. By encapsulating these elements, the company’s technology aims to control their release so that more of the fat and flavor is left for the consumer to enjoy. The vegan product also provides a marbled, fat-like appearance to plant-based meats.
This isn’t just a nice-to-have functionality; for plant-based alternatives to win over more consumers, they need to satisfy in the same way as animal-based options. In a survey of European consumers, Givaudan found that their biggest reason to not eat a meat-alternative burger was lack of authentic taste (38%) or proper meaty taste (28%). A 2019 survey of American consumers by Kerry also found taste as the top barrier for plant-based substitutes.
Fat is part of delivering the juicy, meat-like experience. Plant-based meat makers such as Impossible Foods, Beyond Meat and Conagra with its Gardein Ultimate Plant-Based Burger use coconut and sunflower oils as stand-ins for animal fat. But beyond simply providing the mouthfeel of fat, manufacturers of plant-based options also have to sustain it from cooking through to consumption. Here, other ingredient manufacturers have attempted to provide this degree of control. In 2021, Switzerland-based Firmenich debuted its Dynarome SR fat mimicking technology, which puts a combination of plant fats into a culinary paste that melts during cooking. In the process, the fat transforms into a flavor delivery system that offers a sustained release of aroma and taste throughout the eating experience, according to Firmenich.