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New food frontiers for meat-free: Vegan doner kebabs, Mediterranean flavors & Asian-style grilling

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2021-10-13  Origin: foodingredientsfirst  Views: 12
Core Tip: The successful entry of the plant-based movement into new territories hinges on producers’ ability to align with flavors familiar to local consumers.
The successful entry of the plant-based movement into new territories hinges on producers’ ability to align with flavors familiar to local consumers. The  brands behind a diversified swathe of meatless dishes highlight their product concepts currently being cooked up on the show floor of Anuga 2021, held in Cologne, Germany (October 9 to 13).

Even while cities gradually emerge from COVID-19 lockdowns, the desire to travel with taste buds has not loosened its grip on consumption mentality. Expanded vegan offerings hitting the market this year are targeting adventurous consumers with cravings for grilled Middle Eastern meats, Asian satays and the Mediterranean palate.

Plant-based from the Mediterranean
Heura is on the show floor showcasing its “Mediterranean heritage” branded meat-free products. Samples of the company’s marinated meat chunks, burgers and sausages were fried up and served to attendees.

“Well, I think plant-based is applicable to any cuisine you can think of. For example, chicken is so versatile that you can use it in different preparations,” says Diego Pacheco, chief of business development at Heura Foods.

“While Mediterranean flavors are the ‘DNA’ of our product development, we also have clients in foodservice specializing in Japanese, Spanish and Mexican cuisines. So there are many opportunities to expand the reach of meat alternatives.”

Made with extra virgin olive oil; spices, including thyme, basil and cumin; and other natural ingredients – the Spanish brand’s legumes-based offerings are marketed as high-protein and GMO-free.

“We try to have the cleanest labels possible only using few ingredients and the best quality of those ingredients,” Pacheco highlights. “As a fat source, we only use extra virgin olive oil and not coconut oil that is super heavy on saturated fat.”

Honoring cultural grilling traditions
Drawing from age-old grill traditions across the globe, Evolution Meats has developed vegan doner kebabs, shawarma, gyros, satay’s and sausages from plant proteins.

On the showfloor at Anuga, the Dutch alt-protein specialist was showcasing its signature plant-based satay and a meat-free kebab cone on a vertical grill for visitors to taste.

“So the kebab is based on soy and the satay is based on seitan, which is made from gluten. Our ingredients are a little bit of a secret, but we work with spices and some fat and a binding system,” remarks Mark Lamponder, commercial director of Evolution Meats.

“We developed our products in collaboration with Wageningen University in the Netherlands.”

Evolution Meat’s satay line comprises Indonesian satay, Thai satay and Japanese yakitori satay. In addition, its vegan sausages range includes hotdog, frankfurter, bratwurst and chipolata sausages.

“Plant-based has great potential to expand across many cultural grilling traditions, for instance, in the case of experimenting with Mexican or US flavors,” says Lamponder.

“You can take the original kebab format but then use different ingredients to turn it into a grilled Mexican dish called al pastor,” he continues. “So we haven’t changed the sliceable meat format, but we are using different flavors to make it a little bit different.”

“And in the case of satay, we can similarly do different things with it, such as turning into a Hungarian shashlik or a Sichuan sweet and sour dish. We do these recipes ourselves so there is flexibility.”

Meatless Indian meals for convenience
Finnish food-tech player Meeat Food Tech is exhibiting its plant-based Indian tikka masala, made from “stomach-friendly” fermented fava bean protein and kidney beans that is gluten-free and easy to prepare. The product is made using 100% wind power and designed to be heated up straight out of the package with rice.

It can also be used as the base for a special sauce according to individual preference, for example by adding coconut milk.

“The market is ripe for different flavor varieties for consumers. We are looking for different types of variations, such as Asian flavors,” comments Mikko Karell, CEO of Meeat, who caught up with FoodIngredientsFirst in an exclusive video interview.

“It’s easier for consumers to make the switch from meat to plant-based when they are exposed to dishes that they are more familiar with.”

Fermentation by means of lactic acid bacteria is a traditional way of preparing and storing food. The process adds flavor to plant-based foods. As a result, it has matured as an industry trend in recent years.

Grilled plant-based Korean meats
Inspired by Korean cuisine, which is diverse in ingredients and cooking methods, Zikooin Company has developed Unlimeat. Fire-grilled protein is a staple from Korea’s and across Asia’s tabletop BBQ culture at large.

Unveiled at the show floor of Anuga, the “crispy exterior with a juicy interior” savory product is designed to be customizable for a broad range of flavors for various recipe opportunities.

Looking at the upcycling potential of plants and other ingredients that are usually discarded due to damages, the company’s R&D team spent years developing and cultivating an alternative meat product using sustainable Korean ingredients including grains, oats and nuts.

The company also patented a technology called protein compression and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last year.

The company has been in negotiations with various American groceries and retail stores and will be available in many areas very shortly and will continue to expand throughout the US.

“I want Americans to have a new experience with Asian plant based meat. It’s not just a hamburger patty, it’s a plant-based diet that you can enjoy with BBQ and Asian cuisine. I want to delight not only vegetarians but also curious gourmets,” comments Min Keum Chae, CEO of Zikooin Company. 
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