Practical Formulation with Plant-Based Technologies [Presentation]

Originally Published: August 4, 2022
Last Updated: October 14, 2022
Practical Formulation with Plant-Based Technologies - Julia Thompson 2022 Clean Label Conference

With the double-digit growth of plant-based foods in the marketplace, product developers find themselves needing to source practical advice on formulating plant-based alternatives where they can master the newest technologies. Join Julia Thompson, Culinologist III at CuliNex, a food product development consultancy firm, as she shares her practical application experience formulating with a broad selection of emerging plant-based ingredients. The seminar will explore the building blocks of plant-based meat analogs from protein, color, flavorings, and hydrocolloid ingredients, as well as the emerging process methods that deliver exceptional sensory characteristics to meet increasing consumer expectations for plant-based products.

Julia Thompson, Culinologist III, CuliNex, Practical Formulation with Plant-Based Technologies, Speaker at the 2022 Clean Label Conference.

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Excerpt from Summary of this Presentation titled: Practical Formulation with Plant-Based Technologies 

Thompson highlighted new ingredients and processing techniques used to create the next generation of plant-based products. One recent trend involves the use of high-protein, “whole food” ingredients. Traditional breeding can increase protein in plants—which provides a significant upside: You don’t need to extract the protein, minimizing waste and energy inputs. Whole food ingredients retain fiber and other food components, better absorbing water and providing a more realistic mouthfeel. Novel protein sources are being explored, including plants that grow fast with fewer inputs, such as algae, duckweed and seaweed.

Real meat has random variations in shape, size and texture, while foods with uniform shapes scream “processed.”  Using technology or functional ingredients to make plant-based products more like real meat by introducing different textures, shapes and distributions of fat within a product is known as randomization.

Fats play a crucial role in making plant-based products more like real meat. Among oils, coconut oil is still perceived well by consumers. In contrast, palm oil, which has excellent functional qualities, is perceived poorly due to sustainability and fair-trade issues.  Cocoa butter does not melt like animal fat but can be mixed with other fats to provide a melting curve like that of coconut or palm oil.