Uncover the secret of meat-free flavour

When choosing to go meat-free, today’s consumer no longer has to pay for their healthier food choices with their taste buds.  

Synergy’s expertise in flavouring complex plant and dairy protein blends, paired with specialised sensory methods and a wide ranging of exciting profiles, could be your secret weapon in delivering mouth-watering, meat-free foods to the marketplace. 

Discussion about the merits of reducing our meat consumption is not new but greater media coverage and high-profile campaigns such as Sir Paul McCartney’s “Meat-free Mondays” have resulted in a greater number of people cutting out meat from their diets or adopting a “flexitarian” approach.

Perhaps surprisingly, this trend is also starting to gather momentum in the meat-loving German market. In 2014, the Director of German meat giant, Rügenwalder Mühle declared that he wanted at least 30% of the company’s sales to come from its vegetarian range by 2019. German meat producers have begun to develop meat-free versions of their products under the same brand –showing that they are targeting meat eaters and not necessarily vegetarians with these launches. Clearly, meat-free is a trend that is here to stay.  

The overriding challenge for manufacturers looking to exploit this growing market is summarised by Mintel: “A key weakness for the meat-free market is that over half of adults note that meat substitutes lack flavour.” Vegetarians or flexitarians these consumers may be, but there is no flexibility or compromise when it comes to expecting great tasting, mouth-watering foods.

Covering all the bases

If taste is the key to the market success of a meat-free product, it should be at the centre of innovation and new product development. When it comes to flavouring, working with challenging protein bases (often used in meat-free substitutes) is however quite complex.  These bases pose challenges due to their inherent taste characteristics and how they work with other ingredients and processing methods. It can be tempting to try to boost flavour with ingredients like salt and butter, but this can compromise both the taste and nutritional profile of the product – which would not appeal to many consumers, especially considering health is such a key driver for reducing meat intake.

According to research from The Vegetarian Society, 58% of people  were reducing meat intake for health reasons, compared with saving money (21%), concerns over animal welfare (20%), and concerns around food safety in meat (19%) and environmental concerns (11%).

It is surprising then, to find that many meat-free products are equal (or in some cases higher) in salt levels than many of their meaty counterparts, with one sausage-style soya product containing  over 2.2% salt per 100g.

With more consumers checking macro-nutrient levels (such as calories, sugar and salt) on the back of pack, manufacturers of meat-free products will come under increasing scrutiny to truly prove their health credentials.

Effectively flavouring protein bases such as soya and whey protein, without compromising the nutrition label, takes great skill. Having spent years mastering just that in the nutrition arena, we are able to apply the same skills and expertise to the meat-free market. Synergy’s sensory and application scientists and highly trained flavourists create solutions that can deliver impact and excitement in end products containing these complex protein bases.

Uncovering the secret of meat-free flavour

From ready meals, burgers and ‘facon’ to snacks and sauces, it takes a cleverly balanced combination of herbs, spices and natural flavourings to unlock the great taste consumers’ desire. For a full-flavour impact, enriching protein bases with herbs and spices from around the world can counter some of their taste challenges and can also benefit from some of the latest cuisine trends. Why not transport consumers to North Africa with za’tar spices or heat things up with jalapeno or chipotle chilli profiles?

Our crafted culinary keys can add flavour authenticity by emulating  traditional cooking techniques such as seared, roast and char-grilled in a wide range of meat-free recipes.    Pastes can add another level of flavouring in sauces or fillings designed to accompany meat-free dishes.  This range of clean label, slow cooked cuisine pastes is inspired by flavours from across the globe including America, Thailand and Korea to name but a few. Meat-free can be exciting when there are no limits put on your imagination!

Meat-free, flavour full

The meat-free trend is only going one way and that is up! We believe passionately that meat-free should equate to flavour full, not flavour less.  We have the expertise and experience to transform your meat free foods.  Our savoury flavourings and impactful clean label pastes when formulated for maximum impact mean you don’t have to compromise on taste, nutritional profile or cost! So let your imagination run wild. 

Contact us by email or by phone +44 (0) 1494 492222 for more information on our meat-free solutions.

Alternatively you can learn more by visiting our meat-free pageor you can explore our exciting range of savoury flavour profiles.