Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

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


Carlos Rodríguez

Communication Manager

Pharmactive Biotech Products, SLU


1) Over the past 12 months, consumer awareness and demands related to a healthy lifestyle have continued to evolve significantly, driven in large part by the impact of the pandemic. This has led to a renewed focus on different aspects of health, from immunity to mental well-being.

Evidence of this is the trend towards a more active lifestyle, which has remained a key component in achieving overall well-being. In addition, interest in disease prevention and improving overall wellness has led consumers to explore supplements that support immune health, nutritional balance, and vitality.

2) Over the past 2023, many studies have been conducted on natural ingredients and botanical extracts, in which their mechanisms of action have been observed in specific therapeutic areas, such as macrobiotics, stress, and cardiovascular health. There has also been a lot of promising research on the brain-gut axis with very promising results.

3) In the aftermath of the pandemic, much research has been directed at several important areas of health, such as the immune system, mental health, and cardiovascular health. These are possibly among the fastest growing areas of research in recent years.

4) Key factors influencing consumers' decisions to purchase supplements include brand trust, recommendations from other consumers, clarity and reliability of health claims, transparency in ingredient listing, and scientific evidence to support those claims. Substantiation of claims is crucial, as consumers are increasingly informed and look for products that offer proven health benefits.

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

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

6) There is a growing trend among consumers towards innovative delivery formats for supplements and health foods, such as gummies, functional drinks, oral films, or extended-release capsules. These formats offer greater convenience and can improve consumer adherence to the supplementation regimen, as well as reflect an advanced technological approach by the brand. Preference for these formats is also driven by the desire for a more enjoyable consumption experience and the ease of integrating supplements into the daily routine.

Preferences in delivery formats may have regional or cultural aspects, similar to taste. This includes the acceptability of certain textures, flavours, or the way products are consumed, which may affect consumer stickiness and product perception.

An increasing number of clinical studies are incorporating new forms of administration in addition to traditional capsules/tablets. This is due to the quest to improve bioavailability, efficacy, and user experience with the product. Innovative formats such as sublingual films, gels, liquids, and controlled release systems are being explored to optimise absorption and convenience.

7) Global consumer health concerns include obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stress and anxiety, and poor nutrition. Despite these global trends, significant regional differences exist due to factors such as diet, lifestyle, access to healthcare, and the prevalence of certain infectious or environmental diseases. For example, while in some regions the focus may be on non-communicable diseases such as obesity and diabetes, in others, infectious diseases and access to safe drinking water and the potential pathologies caused by poor water quality may be more pressing.

8) Lifestyle apps can be considered both complementary and competitive. Competitive, in the sense that it is another option for consumers to improve their quality of life; but at the same time the synergy between apps and supplementation is seen as a more complete solution.

These apps educate consumers about wellness and can guide them to specific supplements, improving the personalisation and effectiveness of products.

C&D) No we don't.

9) AI is growing increasingly important in all aspects of life, including scientific research. Consumers may start looking for supplements validated by AI-driven clinical trials, but currently, what is important for the consumer is that the product has scientific recognition. We have not yet considered working with AI CROs, but it is interesting to explore collaboration with AI CROs as they can provide faster and more detailed analysis and accelerate the development of healthy products. As technology evolves, it is likely that by 2030, AI will become an essential tool in the conduct of clinical trials, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of these studies.

10a) Yes, sustainability has become a growing concern in the nutraceutical industry, with more and more companies in the sector devoting significant resources to manufacturing more sustainably.

10b) More and more consumers are actively seeking brands that follow ethical and environmental principles, prioritising those that use sustainable materials and processes over those that do not.

10c) Our company's philosophy has always given special relevance to the selection of raw materials obtained ethically and sustainably, which is why we have become part of the B Corp community.

10d) In the manufacture of our products, we always seek the highest quality without compromising the environment. That is why we are reducing electricity consumption and water use in our factories every year. In addition, we work with local, reliable farmers.

11) Trends in healthy lifestyles show marked geographical variations. In China, there is a strong bias toward products that integrate elements of traditional Chinese medicine, with a focus on supplements that promote balance and harmony in the body. In the US, there is a trend toward personalization of health, with products that support mental health, fitness, and personalised nutrition. Mexico shows a growing interest in organic, and products derived from sustainable agricultural practices, reflecting a focus on authenticity and environmental conservation. There is also a global trend for products that are quick and convenient to administer due to the hectic day-to-day life of these countries. As far as Europe is concerned, there is a significant tightening of regulations for health-related claims and dosage forms to ensure that products are safe and effective. It is therefore essential that companies have a thorough understanding of these regulations to ensure that their products are not compromised. It is therefore essential for us to keep up to date with these regulations, with qualified personnel aware of any changes within the regulations that may affect our existing or future products.

12c) Elderly nutrition and how to support quality of life during aging:

- Kiwi extract, protein digestion booster. Europe.

- Saffron extact (Crocus Sativus L.) quality sleep. All the world.

12d) Sports nutrition, within different life decades and activity levels:

- Saffron extract (Crocus Sativus L.) sports and mind. All the world.

- Kiwi extract, protein digestion booster. Europe.

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