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Bridging the Texture Gap in Plant-Based Food Formulations

September 29, 2021 by Alexa Hornbeck
(Photo from Plant Based Food Association website)

The market for plant-based foods continues to grow with new technologies that can take foods like soy, potato and peas, and transform them into plant-based meats, cheeses, candy and more.

According to retail sales data from the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade association representing the industry, the sales for plant-based foods has grown 43% in the past two years, nine times faster than total food sales.

In 2020, 57% of all U.S. households purchased plant-based foods, which represents over 71 million households. 

The Summit and Expo on Plant-Based Foods and Proteins held this week brought together food producers working to innovate the growing market. 

Michael Finfrock from Royal Avebe discussed how the potato protein company, which started in 1919, was initially driven by sales for animal feed, but now is converting their model from feed protein to food protein to meet the growing demand for plant-based foods. 

 Avebe controls the entire production of the plant-based proteins, from research, plant harvesting, production, and logistics. He said his company produces foods with ingredients that are easy-to-recognize and do not involve artificial flavors or synthetic chemicals.

According to Finfrock, potato starch is an excellent binder and is a great fat alternative with qualities that can mimic meat-like textures when compared to other plant-based food alternatives .

Finfrock said the real challenge in producing plant-based foods is making sure the foods produced are spoonable, spreadable, curable, sliceable, spreadable, and drinkable.

“We want to make more realistic experiences, and make sure we are copying and mimicking the real dairy product,” said Finfrock.

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