Thursday, 18 July 2024

Hybrid Formulations: The Future of Alternative Proteins

  • Hybrid proteins combine animal, plant, cellular agriculture, and fermentation ingredients.
  • These formulations can improve taste, affordability, and consumer acceptance.
  • Products like the Both burger and Mush Foods’ 50Cut highlight the potential of hybrids.

Hybrid formulations are emerging as a vital strategy in the alternative protein sector. By combining animal-based ingredients with plant-based or fermentation-derived components, these products address critical challenges such as taste and cost.

Innovative products like the Both burger from 50/50 Foods and Mush Foods’ 50Cut mushroom blend exemplify the potential of hybrid proteins. The Both burger, with its 50% meat and 50% vegetable composition, appeals to flexitarians seeking to lower their meat intake without sacrificing flavor.

Blending for the Future: Hybrid Proteins in the Alternative Meat Industry

The Future Food-Tech Alternative Proteins conference in Chicago showcased the growing interest in hybrid protein formulations. Experts highlighted that combining animal-based ingredients with plant-based, cellular agriculture, and fermentation components can significantly enhance the appeal and feasibility of alternative proteins. These hybrids address common consumer concerns such as taste and price, making them a promising solution for the industry’s growth.

Emelia Nordlund from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland noted that hybrid foods offer a practical introduction to novel ingredients. By familiarizing consumers with new production concepts and reducing their reliance on animal meat, hybrids can facilitate a smoother transition to more sustainable eating habits. This gradual shift is essential for achieving broader acceptance and long-term success in the alternative protein market.

Products like the Both burger, developed by 50/50 Foods, demonstrate the innovative potential of hybrid formulations. Combining beef with vegetables such as broccoli and mushrooms, the Both burger provides a balanced, flavorful option for flexitarians—those who wish to decrease their meat consumption without eliminating it entirely. This product also emphasizes simplicity, using only six ingredients to deliver a satisfying taste.

Mush Foods’ 50Cut ingredient further expands the possibilities for hybrid proteins. This mushroom blend, intended for mixing with ground meats, maintains the desired taste and texture while cutting down on meat content. By offering umami flavor and improved nutritional value, 50Cut enables chefs to create healthier, more sustainable dishes that still appeal to meat lovers.

Hybrid formulations represent a promising path forward for the alternative protein industry, addressing taste, cost, and sustainability challenges. By combining the best aspects of various protein sources, these innovative products can help pave the way for a healthier and more sustainable food future.

“There are three benefits to hybrid,” Arentowicz said. “(There’s) cost, and that’s why cultivated (meat) has joined the party; taste, as vegetables make meat taste better; and there’s health. You get the best of both, the health of vegetables and the protein of meat.”

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