Panel discussion on...

Healthy lifestyle

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


Alice Barbier

Active Ingredients Product Manager



1) More than ever, since the COVID-19 pandemic, prevention has become a hot topic among consumers. They are more informed about the importance of healthy lifestyles in avoiding possible future illnesses and conditions. They are well aware of the close links between nutrition and health, and the impact that good nutritional habits can have on their general well-being.

On the other hand, the definition of wellbeing has also evolved, moving from a purely physical-based definition to a holistic concept encompassing mental wellbeing as well.

Today, well-being is defined as a balance between physical and mental aspects. To achieve this, consumers turn to sports, meditation, healthy eating, as well as natural cosmetics products and food supplements that make them feel good. This profound change in lifestyle also echoes with consumers' growing demand for naturality. Faced with this trend, companies need to adapt their offer to meet consumer needs.

6) In today's nutraceutical and nutricosmetics landscape, traditional galenic formats such as capsules and tablets are widely represented and are the reference formats. However, they coexist with innovative alternatives that are closer to food formats. In recent years, we have seen a major shift in consumer habits, with the emergence of new formats such as gummies, shots and drinks. Gummies can be perceived as pleasant snacks evoking childhood memories, while liquid formats offer the possibility of quick and easy consumption, adapted to an often hectic modern lifestyle.

This "foodification" of nutraceuticals goes beyond promoting better consumer compliance. It fits perfectly into an overall wellness ritual for a more holistic approach. Indeed, we're witnessing the emergence of sticks, powders and drinks with flavors that fit perfectly into morning, afternoon or evening wellness routines, such as matcha, coffee (cappuccino), chocolate, etc. to be mixed with water or milk.

Today, there is a wide range of products to suit everyone's needs and tastes. Innovative formats are appearing in all geographic zones, although there are certain specificities depending on the region. For example, some consumers believe that reference formats are more effective than more innovative ones. In 2022, 59% of French VMS users (Vitamins and Minerals Supplements) believed that tablets were more efficient than other formats (1). This is why certain geographical areas are more likely to witness the rapid emergence of new formats. When conducting clinical studies, reference formats such as capsules are mostly found, but formats such as gummies are increasingly present in consumer tests.

12) The solutions offered by nutraceuticals are becoming more comprehensive, catering to the specific needs of multiple target populations.

In this context, Seppic, manufacturer and supplier of nutricosmetic actives, has developed a beauty solution that targets menopausal women. Backed by a total of three clinical studies, Seppic's natural wheat lipidic extract containing phytoceramides appears to be a valuable solution for women seeking to meet the skin and hair challenges associated with menopause.

In 2023, a gold standard randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial demonstrated significant results on a subgroup of menopausal women in only two weeks and at a low dose of 30mg/d. Seppic’s active ingredient led to a significant 19% increase in skin moisturization and an 18% improvement in skin elasticity, after 56 days compared to a placebo. Volunteers in the study also reported positive effects on skin roughness and skin smoothness (2).

This ingredient also demonstrated, in 2023, hair benefits on a subgroup of 31 menopausal women during a gold standard randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial with the same dosage (post-hoc analysis). The results showed a significant effect on hair growth with +5000 anagen after 84 days vs. DO and an 18% decrease in telogen hair proportion associated with an anti-hair loss effect (3).

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