Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

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


Magda Starula

Consultant, Health & Beauty

Euromonitor International


1) More personalized offerings are incorporating virtual consultations/recommendations with professionals, whether in the form of a beauty coach, a nutritionist, a fitness trainer or an AI-led support tool.

2023 has seen an expansion of multifunctional combination dietary supplements that aim to provide benefits across a range of health needs. This is driven by consumers who are looking to pare back spending and are increasingly thinking about their health in a more holistic manner; as a result, these consumers are searching for products that are efficacious and can efficiently meet their needs in a pill or two.

Sports nutrition remains the gold standard for growth in consumer health in 2023, and its future remains bright based on strategies that have begun recently. These include strategically building geographically around fast-growing emerging economies and integrating health benefits that consumers increasingly demand in addition to the core considerations of muscle-building, strength, endurance and recovery

4) Reasons for taking vitamins and dietary supplements (worldwide): to improve/maintain general health, to improve/maintain immune system; to boost energy, bone strength, eye health. Claims are indeed important; in 2023, messages such as 'beauty/skin health', 'women's health', 'anti-inflammatory' were particularly sought after by consumers worldwide

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

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

6a) In recent years, there has been a growing demand for vitamins and dietary supplements in drinkable and gummy form (the latter especially for pediatric health).

6b) Yes, to some extent. However, we see similarities across regions as well as inspiration from different continents. If you look at Asia-Pacific, where the drinkable ampoule/gummy format has long been well established and popular, regions such as Europe and North America are getting in on the game and taking their cue from their APAC predecessors.

7a) According to Euromonitor's Health and Nutrition Survey, fielded in January-February 2023, the top global health concerns are eye/vision problems, upper digestive problems, sleep problems, and joint and muscle pain.

7b) Europe: eye/vision problems, sleeping problems, joint and muscle pain, stress and anxiety

  • North America: eye/vision problems, stress and anxiety, joint and muscle pain, sleeping problems
  • APAC: eye/vision problems, upper digestive issues, stress and anxiety, sleeping problems
  • LATAM: eye/vision problems, stress and anxiety, upper digestive issues, headaches
  • Middle East and Africa: upper digestive issues, headaches, eye/vision problems, stress and anxiety

8a) I don't really see it as competition, often brands work with these apps or create them themselves. It's a synergy.

8b) In some cases, yes, because they can act as brand promotion, but also to educate consumers about what they might need by suggesting personalized quizzes and offering specific solutions.

9a) Consumers are experimenting and being creative, adopting the technology for fun, problem solving and self-expression. They are using these tools as personal assistants to help with daily tasks such as shopping lists and schoolwork, generating unique solutions such as meal plans and travel agendas or creating digital avatars and social media posts. The automation and personalisation offered can also help consumers free up much needed time, often a priority for individuals in today’s fast-paced world. In 2024, as consumers move beyond familiarity to deeper integration of generative AI in their daily lives, businesses need to leverage the technology to improve and enrich customer experience, offer hyper-personalisation, and innovate their products and services. According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles survey, fielded in February-March 2023, 42% of respondents globally were comfortable with voice assistants providing personalised information and suggested products. 72% of consumers used technology to improve their daily lives in 2023 and 17% of respondents were comfortable using a bot to resolve complex customer service questions.

10a) Do you agree that sustainability has become a growing concern also in the nutraceutical industry? à After years of silence, consumer health companies have announced strong commitments to sustainability and environmental protection in recent years, mirroring consumers’ accelerating concerns and increasing demands for products that meet their eco-consciousness. One clear takeaway from other industries is to tackle downstream emissions (packaging, waste) before solving thornier upstream emissions dilemmas (supply chains, ingredients sourcing, manufacturing), although companies will still need to make progress in this area to meet stated Sustainable Development Goals. Thus far, consumer health leaders have committed to reductions in both upstream and downstream emissions, although these are still at the general planning stage. The industry as a whole is still waiting to implement commercialised solutions on either of these fronts. As market leaders take time to plan revisions to major corporate standards, the industry should look to smaller players for inspiration, as they are nimble enough to go to market with sustainable approaches to packaging, sourcing, shipping, supply chains, waste and recycling.

10b) Are consumer looking proactively for brands which have ethical and environmental principles? à Consumers are increasingly reporting concern about and interest in climate change, carbon footprints, and recycling and are taking steps to improve their behaviour on these fronts. However, on a deeper level, consumers are still reporting low engagement with products with a sustainable footprint. This is likely because of the lack of products available to meet these needs, with the outright majority of consumer goods still not engaging with these topics directly. It also, though, reflects the fact that concepts around sustainability are still quite novel for most global consumers, who still require considerable education and nudging to understand what products to purchase and how their lifestyles interact with articulated environmental goals.

11a) An increasing number of consumers are establishing the habit of taking vitamins and dietary supplements on a daily basis as a preventive measure, incorporating them into their daily diet. Sports nutrition is also expected to rebound and see a full recovery from the decline witnessed in 2022, along with the resumption of in-person activities, especially the reopening of gyms and sports venues.

11b) The long-term effects of the pandemic include mental health disorders, such as anxiety and sleep issues. Today, brain health is not just about mood, stress and anxiety, or emotional wellbeing, it also includes supplements for attention, focus and mental fatigue. With the increasing work from home movement, and e-sports, there is a significant need to optimise concentration and mental focus. There is growing demand for these supplements from four user segments: children (for focus, energy, and attention), millennials (for stress and anxiety), baby boomers (for memory support), and e-gamers (for mental acuity and concentration). This trend is benefiting sales of brain health supplements, linked to important launches, for instance Nature's Way recently launched Brain Fuel, a gummy supplement formulated to support short- term memory, focus, and concentration for adults. The key ingredient here is Cognigrape, which significantly improves cognitive function and mood in healthy older adults. Also, according to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Health and Nutrition survey, younger consumers (aged 15-29) have a higher impact of stress and anxiety on their everyday life, with 76% reporting “severe” or “moderate” impacts of stress – the highest of all age groups. Another survey in terms of treatment approach indicates that vitamins and dietary supplements are rated highly as a treatment option for stress and anxiety. Dietary supplements positioned around mood support, focus, stress, or relaxation have seen accelerating growth since the onset of COVID-19.
Apart from that, supplements positioned for women’s health witnessed double-digit growth in 2022, and this trend is set to continue in 2023 due to the changing consumer landscape. Following this trend, companies are also investing in this category. For instance, recently launched TruBiotics Women’s probiotic supplements support women’s health concerns such as digestive, vaginal, urinary, and bone health, and hair, skin, and nail health. Also, Wild Nutrition offers a wide portfolio of proprietary blend supplements targeting all female life stages and hormonal health, alongside fertility and general health minerals and vitamins. Meanwhile, in the recent past HUM Nutrition launched a PMS gummies line to provide symptom relief from PMS.

11c) Garlic has gained popularity in capsule form due to its accessibility and consumer familiarity with the ingredient. Innovation in capsule deodorisation has made garlic more appealing. This ingredient gained widespread recognition during the pandemic for its potential anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, and cholesterol-reducing benefits. Probiotic supplements is another strong performer, recording double-digit retail volume growth in 2023. Probiotics are generally trending across various industries, and increasingly found in foods and cosmetics. Adaptogens, especially in mushroom form, have also surged in popularity.

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