Novel extrusion technology process that promises thicker, more realistic cuts of plant-based protein

Heritage plant-protein maker Quorn awarded its most recent Future Food-Tech Innovation Challenge award to French startup Umiami for the company’s novel extrusion technology process that promises thicker, more realistic cuts of plant-based protein.

The Paris-based faux meat startup works to tackle the texture challenge faced by companies using high moisture extrusion (HME) technology to create plant-based meat fibers. Through proprietary technology, the startup says that it can produce horizontal, diagonal, and vertical fibers – HME can only produce horizontal and V-shaped fibers.

As a result of its technological breakthrough, Umiami explains that it can create meat alternatives that are five times thicker than HME equivalents. Additionally, the startup’s technology allows for more balanced water and fat content to be introduced into the final protein product.

While Quorn set its challenge to task startups with mimicking whole cuts of chicken due to the protein’s flexibility and wide appeal, Umiami took the challenge a step further and showed that its technology is applicable to not only chicken breasts and nuggets but also to fattier products such as cod.

Due to its ability to control the direction of the fibers as well as work with different plant-based proteins such as soy and pea, Umiami explains that it can replicate succulent whole muscle cuts of animal meat in a more realistic fashion than HME. Current HME technology is limited in its ability to introduce fat and water content into plant-based products.

The processing technology uses extruder technology that will burn these ingredients when it creates muscle fibers if they are included at the beginning of the texturization process. As a result, these flavors are added later and tend to only penetrate the surface of meat alternatives leaving the interior of many meat alternatives dry and bland.

Umiami solves this issue by limiting the number of processing steps and creates plant-based meat alternatives without texturizing agents such as methylcellulose and gums. By limiting the number of texturizing agents, Umiami is able to produce its plant-based meats with around 10 ingredients rather than the 30 to 40 generally required by manufacturers using traditional HME technology.

Not only has Quorn awarded this French startup for its ingenuity, but so too have investors. Since its launch in May 2020, the startup has raised €2.3 million to develop its pilot production site where it intends to process 100 tons of plant-based protein annually. Construction on the site is scheduled to begin in early 2022.

To help get its initial product range off the ground, which will consist of white-label products, including chicken breasts, cod and nuggets, the young enterprise recruited Guillaume Feneyrou, who spent over two decades at Nestlé working as the company’s Industrial Director.

Website Link (Article by Ingredients Network)

Published by RenSun Lee

Kia ora! Sustainability is at the core of my soul ever since I was a kid. I always strive to finish the food on my plate and live as a minimalist. I love to cut down on waste in order to live sustainably and harmoniously with our planet. This brings me to my passion as a Food Scientist to integrate new technologies into innovative and creative solutions to meet customer demands and market trends and to optimize products and processes for quality, savings and sustainability. To these goals, I have published a Journal on my work on sustainable packaging and patented a new Antimicrobial wash. Nothing is more satisfying than working hard and smart at the workplace and playing hard outside of working hours. I enjoy rejuvenating myself through spending quality time with my two adorable kids and my awesome soul mate and getting close to nature when possible, be it gardening, tramping or going to the beach. I also love to learn about our magnificent universe and how sustainability is working in the grand scheme of things. I strongly believe that Work, Life & Balance is the key to a healthy state of mind, both physically and mentally. I look forward to making a positive difference wherever and whenever I can. Through this Blog, I hope to catalog recent Food Trends and Food Technologies that I come across so that anyone who is interested can have access to it (articles and resources). Please use these resources at your discretion. On top of that, I would also like to share related news and technologies of the future that would help mankind advance towards a Type 1 Civilization. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to share and contribute to the “Resources“. I would like to thank you in advance for dropping by. I sincerely hope that you can benefit from the recent Food Trends and Food Technologies I catalogued. Kind regards | Ngā mihi RenSun Lee

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