Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

Welcome in the world of alternative meat: analytical challenges and perspectives


Amanda Jepson

Vice President, Business Development



1) Consumers are increasingly placing health benefits at the top of their priorities. There's a noticeable shift towards more realistic health and wellness goals, such as eating healthier foods, losing weight, and reducing alcohol consumption. Interestingly, the intent to adopt a vegan diet has seen a decline, with consumers opting for more achievable lifestyle changes.

Trends such as a preference for natural and clean products, more personalization, and the digitalization of wellness offerings are gaining momentum. These trends span across various sectors, including skincare, nutrition, fitness, and retail.

Beyond personal health, there's a growing demand for sustainably produced goods and services. Consumers are looking for products that not only benefit their health but are also kind to the planet.

These trends collectively indicate a consumer base that is more informed, health-conscious, and demanding in terms of the quality, health benefits, and ethical sourcing of the products they choose to consume. Brands and manufacturers are responding by focusing on natural ingredients, clear labeling, sustainability, and personalized products to meet these evolving consumer demands.

2) While it's challenging to pinpoint a single greatest achievement given the breadth of the field, several key areas of progress stand out:

  • Sustainability: there has been a dramatic shift toward sustainable ingredients and products and there are new technologies emerging that help capture valuable materials from the waste stream of other manufacturing processes.
  • Personalized Nutrition: The shift towards personalized nutrition has brought about an explosion of new apps, AI related evaluations and opportunities for companies to better service the individual consumer rather than the “broad brush” condition-specific, approach of the past.
  • Holistic nutrition – people understand now more than ever that everything is linked, what they put in their body shows up in their skin, hair, and joint health. Discovering and developing ingredients that serve more than one bodily system is the best way to ensure overall wellness.

4) Substantiation of claims does still play a critical role in consumer purchasing decisions, however value alignment has become increasingly more important. People want to feel good about the purchasing decisions they are making and we see that reflected in not only the purchasing decisions they are making, but the pre-purchase research being done.

5) How do consumer today judge their health status:
Please put the following parameter in order. 1 highest priority 7 lowest priority

    1. Mental and Emotional Well-being: stress levels, emotional balance, happiness
    2. Physical Symptoms, like pain, fatigue, constipation, weight gain
    3. Diet and Nutrition: intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins.
    4. Fitness Levels: endurance, strength, flexibility
    5. Quality of sleep: Sleep quality and duration
    6. Health Tracking Devices and heart rate, sleep patterns, steps taken
    7. Medical Check-ups: blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, blood sugar tests

6) There is a noticeable trend in consumer preferences shifting away from traditional supplement delivery formats like capsules and tablets towards more innovative and engaging formats. Gummies, softgels, chewables, soft chews, and liquid shots are gaining popularity among consumers, with a significant decline in the preference for traditional formats over the past decade. This shift is partly due to "pill fatigue" and the desire for a more enjoyable consumption experience, which these alternative formats offer through their appearance, taste, and texture.

The choice of delivery format can indeed have regional and cultural nuances, similar to taste preferences. For example, gel/jelly formats have seen success in South Korea within beauty supplements, while liquid shots are popular in both Asian markets and the U.S. for their functional benefits. This suggests that cultural factors do play a role in the acceptance and popularity of certain supplement formats.

10a) Sustainability indeed has become a growing concern in the nutraceutical industry, reflecting a broader shift towards environmental consciousness among consumers and businesses alike. A significant portion of global consumers is increasingly prioritizing environmental health and its impact on the planet. This trend is underscored by data showing that 68% of global consumers prioritize environmental health, and 75% of young people express profound anxiety about climate change. The nutraceutical industry is responding by implementing climate-positive production methods and focusing on circularity and upcycling to decrease carbon footprints and improve sustainability.

10b) Are consumer looking proactively for brands which have ethical and environmental principles? Yes.

10c) We are a 100% upcycled raw material supplier.

10d) We were already producing upcycled ingredients, but we have been working to evaluate other opportunities within our processes that can help further reduce our carbon footprint and help protect and serve the global environment.

What is required to scale-up production of alternative protein sources, such as lab-grown meat and cultivated (breast/bovine) milk?

For the production of 1 kg meat approx. 1 thousand times more water is needed than for 1 kg grain. And furthermore 60% of grain production in Germany is used for feeding cattle and pork.

The development of automated production equipment for tailor-made cultured meat using 3D bioprinting will help to feed the world (4).

The 3D bioprinting technology was developed by Professor Matsusaki of the Osaka University to create muscle tissue structures. This technology is expected to be utilized in the field of food, for production of cultured meat with controlled arrangement of muscle, fat, and blood vessels.

Most of the cultured meats reported so far have a minced structure consisting only of muscle cells, making it difficult to reproduce complex structures. To solve this problem, Matsusaki and co-workers developed a 3D bioprinting technology that uses 3D printing to produce different fibrous tissues (muscle, fat, and blood vessels) and integrates them into a bundle. This technology has made it possible not only to reproduce the famous Wagyu beef, but also to delicately adjust the fat and muscle components. Osaka University and Shimadzu will jointly develop equipment to automate the production of cultured meat using this technology. (5).

What are the most effective methods for enhancing the flavor and texture of alternative proteins?There are meaningful reasons not to go for these new types of foods

Bad experience in terms of taste and texture

Raw meat on its own has little aroma; therefore, almost all aromas associated with “meatiness” are created during the cooking process by the Maillard Reaction between amino acids and reducing sugars. That reaction determines which non-volatile precursors release volatile aroma compounds. Plant-based meat (PBM), products created to resemble animal meat in both look and taste, are growing in popularity. A plant protein such as soy protein concentrate, along with colors, stabilizers, and oils, is used to successfully mimic meat flavor and texture. And, just like in animal meat, the amino acids of that protein undergo the Maillard Reaction.

Samples of PBM were run with the solid phase microextraction GC-MS and the volatile profile was compared against that of the organic beef. Similar compounds, such as fatty acids and Maillard browning reaction products, were found in both types of meat (Figure 1).

The differences can be explained by the different and wide variety of precursors present in PBM since it contains amino acids and sugars from various sources as opposed to regular meat.

There are five basic tastes, including deliciousness, which are perceived by people. The amount and kind of amino acids contribute to taste components. Of all the amino acids, glutamic acid is widely known as a component of the delicious taste. Further, the types and component ratios of amino acids largely control the flavor of food products. For example, glycine and alanine are associated with sweetness, valine and leucine with bitterness, and aspartic acid and glutamic acid with deliciousness.

The texture of food, including the sense of crispness, springiness, firmness, and the feeling on the tongue, is an important element that together with taste has an impact on the deliciousness of food. Food texture is normally evaluated using sensory tests. However, sensory tests are often difficult to reproduce, due to individual differences in people’s sensations and physical condition.

A texture analyzer can support sensory test with objective results in the form of numerical values for use in the field of food development. The texture analyzer evaluates the texture characteristics and allows a comparison of the texture of plant-based meat (PBM) and, for instance, chicken meatballs. Compared to chicken-derived products, plant-based meatballs had a higher force under loading conditions with less elasticity, which is the property to restore deformation (6). It is consistent with the result of the sensory test.

Figure 1. Overlaid Representative Chromatograms for PBM (black) and Organic Beef (pink) (6).


Barry Skillington

Chief Commercial Officer - Atlantia
Clinical Trials

Adriana Olivares

Corporate Communications
Director - Bioiberica

Amanda Jepson

Vice President, Business Development - Biova

Andrea Zangara

Head of Scientific Communications and Medical Affairs - Euromed

Magda Starula

Consultant, Health & Beauty - Euromonitor International

Mike Hughes

Head of Research and Insight - FMCG Gurus

Oliver Wolf

Marketing EMEIA - GELITA

Bertrand Rodriguez

Business Development and CSR Director - Gnosis by Lesaffre

Filipa Quintela

Global Marketing Manager, Human Nutrition and Health - Kemin

Celia Martin 

Regulatory Director & Health Ingredients Innovation Manager - Lallemand Bio-Ingredients

Amanda Mackinnon

Marketing & Communications Manager - Marinova Pty Ltd

Cindy Dekeyser

Global Business Intelligence Manager - PB Leiner

Yingying Wu

Global Product Manager Health & Nutrition - PB Leiner

Reyhan Nergiz Unal

Health & Nutrition Science Lead - PB Leiner

Carlos Rodríguez

Communication Manager - Pharmactive Biotech Products, SLU

Federica Carrozzo

Product Manager Nutraceutical - Roelmi HPC

Catarina Ferreira da Silva

Science Integration Manager - Rousselot

Elaine E. Vaughan

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Leader - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Veerle Dam

Health Science and Regulatory Affairs Specialist - Sensus (Royal Cosun)

Alice Barbier

Active Ingredients Product Manager - Seppic

Cristiana Piangiolino

Managing Director - SynBalance srl

Suzan Wopereis

Principal Scientist “systems health” - TNO