Tasty plant-based proteins; the secret ingredient for reaching meat reducers

An increasing number of Australians actively seek to reduce their meat intake by turning to plant-based protein sources. Plant-based products that aim to mimic beef, chicken, and other animal products have become a popular alternative. However, further R&D is needed to help these products reach their full potential and become more widely accepted by meat-reducing consumers. Here are a few insights to explain the state of plant-based proteins and what innovations are needed to meet demand.

Innovation is key to reaching the full potential of plant-based proteins

A recent CSIRO report predicts that Australia’s protein industry could grow by an additional $13 billion by 2030. According to the report, plant-based proteins have the biggest growth potential, with an additional $6 billion up for grabs.

The report makes clear that additional investment in R&D will be essential to realising the full growth potential of Australia’s plant-based protein industry. The key areas for innovation in plant-based products include:

  • Improving protein density and overall nutrition profile, including fortifying minerals and vitamins only found in high quantities in animal products
  • Improving product flavour, odour, texture, appearance, and mouthfeel
  • Reducing antinutritional components like alkaloids and glycosylates that require additional additives and create ‘off-flavours’

In short, the CSIRO report highlights the need for plant-based protein products to offer comparable or greater nutritional value and sensory experience to animal proteins. This needs to be achieved without over-relying on additives like sodium that can turn consumers away.

Authentic taste and texture are vital to attracting meat reducers

The CSIRO’s market analysis aligns with what we know about the consumer relationship with plant-based protein alternatives. Food Frontier’s consumer insights tell us that 58% of consumers identifying as meat reducers cite the inferior taste of plant-based meat as a barrier to purchase.

But it’s not enough for meat alternatives to taste good. Consumers desire something that authentically mimics the sensory experience of animal proteins. Kerry’s recent report Stepping Up Taste In Plant Based reveals that 76% of Australians are more willing to buy a plant-based burger described as ‘authentic chargrilled-tasting’.

The report goes on to state that, of all markets surveyed, Aussies were the most sensitive to bitter beany notes and other unpleasant or overwhelming flavours that come from traditional plant-based protein sources like legumes. One surveyed consumer said, “A plant-based burger should be like beef, in colour, flavour, texture, I don’t want to compromise.”

To attract meat reducers, foodservice operators should focus on not only offering plant-based menu alternatives but prioritising the use of products that come as close as possible to mimicking the real thing.

Thankfully, products like the HARVEST GOURMET® Sensational™ Burger have proved successful in winning over meat reducers craving authenticity from plant-based dishes. Being high-protein and high-fibre, the Sensational™ Burger ticks multiple boxes for Australian meat reducers

Offering a diversity of high-quality plant-based proteins will help you bring in meat reducers

Although Kerry’s research sets out beef as the sensory benchmark for Aussie meat reducers, the demand for other plant-based meat substitutes shouldn’t be ignored.

Since Australians consume poultry at twice the rate of beef and pork1, it follows that offering great-tasting meat-free alternatives for Aussie staples like chicken schnitzel will bring in more meat-reducing customers.

Plant Based Schnitzel Product Image

Introducing HARVEST GOURMET® Plant Based Schnitzel

The HARVEST GOURMET® Plant Based Schnitzel is the perfect way to offer a meat-free version of Australia’s favourite pub dish. Encased in a crunchy golden crumb, this plant-based schnitzel offers an excellent sensory experience while containing more fibre and less sodium per 100g than regular chicken schnitzel.

Easily cooked from frozen, with a 7-day chilled shelf life and multiple methods of preparation, the HARVEST GOURMET® Plant Based Schnitzel is a simple addition to your kitchen. Cater to meat reducers by swapping it in with your existing centre of plate schnitzel dishes or slice and create entirely new options like wraps, salads and sandwiches.

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