Let’s talk trends.
Is your product able to use current health food trends to expand its market share? Or perhaps you are looking to develop a product that will take advantage of current consumer desires? In this series, we will look at emerging functional and health food product trends and how they might be used to capture market attention. Let’s first explore new meat alternatives.
Meat-free and meat alternatives
With the UN listing high red and processed meat consumption as a plausible contributor to cancer increases across the globe, consumers are looking for ways to reduce their meat consumption but at the same time, do not want to give up the texture, nutrients, and taste that meat gives. Food researchers are exploring many meat substitutes beyond the standard soy and veggie patty varieties available. These meat alternatives also have the capacity to improve a product’s ‘nutrient profiling score’ to allow for relevant health claims to be made. (1, 2)
Pea proteins are emerging as a top contender with new products entering the market such as a chicken substitute that is receiving rave reviews. Gluten and soy free, pea protein can be used for much more than protein shakes! Pea protein has recently been used in minced meat products to increase the fibre and nutrient content while reducing saturated fat content without sacrificing flavour and texture. Have a look at the supermarket shelves to see what products are incorporating pea proteins. Could your next product use this versatile and nutritious meat protein alternative? (3)
Jackfruit is another meat alternative that has the texture of ‘pulled’ meat and absorbs the flavours around it. The largest fruit in the world, jackfruit is commonly eaten in India, Asia, Africa and some parts of South America but its popularity is growing in Australia and other western countries. Anecdotally, jackfruit may have carcinogen, bacterial, fungal and inflammation-fighting properties as well as insulin regulating effects but more rigorous scientific study is needed in these areas. It has the mouthfeel of meat but it is low in saturated fat and contains fibre, vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and magnesium amongst other important phytonutrients. The nutrient content of jackfruit is of course affected by many factors such as fruit age (immature or ripe) variety, growing conditions, and cooking treatment but this fruit has some amazing potential that is worth exploring! (4)
Lastly, there are insects! This might still be a bridge too far for many consumers but there are now cricket flours available (nutty and earthy in flavour) that have been used in baked goods and as meat substitutes.
Gluten and soy free, low in cholesterol and packed with more bio-available protein, vitamins, and minerals than other conventional meat alternatives, cricket flour might be a rising star if consumer perceptions can be persuaded. (5, 6)
These meat alternatives are also promoted as more sustainable choices with less environmental impact that intensive farming that goes into meat production. Did you know that peas actually improve the soil by returning nitrogen back to the ground (‘nitrogen-fixing’)? Not only are they good for us, but they also give back to the ground they are grown in! (4, 7)
What if you could make health claims on your products to attract new consumers by incorporating meat alternatives or other food trends? What impact might food trends have on increasing your market share? In what ways do you feel meat alternatives need to improve to gain consumer confidence to try them?
Contact Michelle at Food Envy Labelling if you would like to know more about meat alternatives, or other food trends and how they can improve your product’s nutrient profile score to access approved health claims. She would be happy to discuss the opportunities with you!
- Bouvard V, Loomis D, Guyton KZ, Grosse Y, Ghissassi FE, Benbrahim-Tallaa L, et al. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat. Lancet Oncol. 2015;16(16):1599-600.
- Australian Government. Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (Cth), Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code – Standard 1.2.7 – Nutrition, health and related claims F2016C00161 [Internet]. Canberra, ACT: Australian Government; 2018 [updated 2018 Nov 29; cited 2019 Jul 7]. Available from: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2018C00942.
- Huber E, Francio DL, Biasi V, Mezzomo N, Ferreira SR. Characterization of vegetable fiber and its use in chicken burger formulation. J Food Sci Technol. 2016;53(7):3043-52.
- Ranasinghe R, Maduwanthi SDT, Marapana R. Nutritional and Health Benefits of Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.): A Review. Int J Food Sci. 2019;2019:4327183.
- Kim HW, Setyabrata D, Lee Y, Jones OG, Kim YHB. Effect of House Cricket (Acheta domesticus) Flour Addition on Physicochemical and Textural Properties of Meat Emulsion Under Various Formulations. J Food Sci. 2017;82(12):2787-93.
- Pambo KO, Okello JJ, Mbeche RM, Kinyuru JN, Alemu MH. The role of product information on consumer sensory evaluation, expectations, experiences and emotions of cricket-flour-containing buns. Food Res Int. 2018;106:532-41.
- Kaye J, Finney D, White C, Bradley B, Schipanski M, Alonso-Ayuso M, et al. Managing nitrogen through cover crop species selection in the U.S. mid-Atlantic. PLoS One. 2019;14(4):e0215448.