Many consumers are turning to plant-based meats in pursuit of healthier, more environmentally friendly food choices, but as more options enter the market, they’re becoming increasingly discerning when it comes to ingredient labels.
Peazazz pea protein from Merit Functional Foods is well positioned to become a recognisable clean label ingredient for meat alternatives, as recent applications work has demonstrated that it can replace methylcellulose, a commonly used ingredient in meat alt formulations.
“If you ask any consumer what methylcellulose is, chances are they won’t recognise it, and it’s even more likely that they won’t be comfortable consuming it,” Merit’s Ryan Bracken said.
“But despite this, methylcellulose is a part of the ingredient labels for many of the meat alternatives on the market today owing to its unique functionality, and formulators are struggling to find a suitable clean label solution to replace it.”
Methylcellulose is commonly used as a binding and gelling agent in meat alternative applications.
Replacing it has historically been difficult, as these functional qualities are critical to upholding the springy, meat-like texture that consumers have long associated with traditional animal-based meats.
But with 45% one-year dollar growth and 18% household penetration (according to SPINS) within the plant-based meat category, consumers expect more from the brands they buy, which means fewer unfamiliar ingredients.
When used as part of Merit’s protein-based solution, high purity Peazazz pea protein offers unique water binding, high solubility, and strong gelling properties that allow formulators to maintain springy, meat-like textures in plant-based sausages, hot dogs, burgers, and more – with far better results than other pea proteins.
“We are motivated by the potential this innovation has uncovered for formulators,” Bracken said.
“We’ve heard from our customers the challenges of removing methylcellulose, and now Merit is able to provide them an opportunity to finally eliminate it from their products with our functional pea protein - Peazazz. And beyond this, there’s an added benefit of enhanced protein claims and a delicious sensory profile that’s on par with traditional products.”