Plant-based marbled meats

2024 – 2026

This project aims to address a critical gap in the production of meat alternatives by developing marbled plant-based meats.

Production platform: Plant-Based

Technology sector: End product formulation & manufacturing, Ingredient optimization, Scaffolding

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Project aims

This project aims to address a critical gap in the production of plant-based meat alternatives by developing a novel technology for incorporating lipids into high-moisture extrusion processes. While high-moisture extrusion has become the primary method for creating meat-like textures from plant proteins, it currently lacks the ability to generate lipid marbling, a key characteristic for replicating the appearance, flavor, and texture of traditional meat products. The challenges of incorporating lipids into high-moisture extrusion processes are mainly related to the lubricating effect of plant lipids that introduce slip of the protein melt within the extruder barrel, while injecting lipids into the cooling die results in uneven distribution, leading to suboptimal texture and anisotropy.

To overcome these challenges, this project proposes the development and implementation of a novel extrusion segment that will allow for the production of plant-based marbled meat alternatives. By integrating lipids seamlessly into the extrusion process, the project aims to enhance the textural and sensory characteristics of plant-based meat alternatives, ultimately enabling the production of whole-cut ‘marbled’ meat products. The main objectives include improving the textural attributes of extruded plant-based meat alternatives and evaluating the impact of lipid-protein composite extrusion on processing and structural characteristics. By bridging the gap between plant proteins and lipids, the proposed technology has the potential to revolutionize the plant-based meat industry, expanding its product offerings and appeal to a wider audience.

Principal researchers

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Lutz Grossmann

Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science

University of Massachusetts Amherst, United States

Lutz Grossmann is an Assistant Professor in the Food Science Department at UMass Amherst since 2021. His research focuses on facilitating a sustainable food system transition by designing holistic approaches to increase the consumption of plant- and microbial protein-rich foods.

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