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Under the boom of plant-based food, the processing and utilization status of plant-based milk beverages and plant meat in China

plant-based food

01 Plant-based food boom is on the rise

In 2018, in the “Global Innovative Food Investment and Transaction Projects”, the top 10 funded projects were all plant-based food projects, of which the top 8 were plant-based meat and plant-based protein beverages. The growth rate reached 17%.

Beyond Meat, famous for its “vegetarian burgers”, became the world’s first listed company in the field of plant-based food, and its market value rose by 163% on its first day of listing, immediately igniting the capital and consumer market’s passion for “plant-based food. The development of food has become the focus of attention of the global food industry.

In China, the “Six Walnuts” brand, which is famous for its walnut milk, launched a new product of room temperature walnut fermented milk in November 2019, and started to deploy the plant-based yogurt market; The three-pronged approach of “energy + plant-based”; the plant-based snack “Original Bean Fuxingye” brand has been deeply involved in the field of plant protein, launched slow-grinding dried tofu products, created a series of non-heritage foods, and constantly innovated, etc., from domestic to foreign, plant-based food A new era is ushering in.

02 Analysis of the current situation of processing and utilization of plant protein resources in China

China is a country rich in plant protein resources, and its utilization has a long history. The main utilization methods of plant protein can be divided into three categories: feed, direct consumption, and food and ingredient processing.

In terms of the types of food processing products, the utilization of plant protein-based foods in china can be subdivided into five categories: ingredients and additives, nutritional protein powder (peptide powder), plant-based milk beverages, plant-based meat and traditional soy products. Among them, ingredients and additives, nutritional protein powder (peptide powder), and plant-based meat are three major categories of products that are new ways to utilize plant protein resources in china, especially soybean protein plays an important role in functional food and clinical nutrition in my country.

On the other hand, traditional soy products are one of the important ways of plant protein intake that cannot be ignored in china, providing 1/4 of the daily protein demand of adults, and providing rich protein and basic nutrition for the reproduction of the Chinese nation.

03 Status quo of processing and utilization of plant-based milk beverages in china

With the increasing health awareness of Chinese consumers, plant-based protein drinks that traditionally have nourishing effects are also widely favored.

The “2017-2022 China Plant Protein Beverage Industry Market Demand and Investment Planning Analysis Report” released by the Prospective Industry Research Institute shows that in 2016, the income of the plant milk industry was 121.72 billion yuan, with a compound growth rate of 24.5%. The proportion of vegetable protein beverages increased by 8.79% to 18.69%, and the growth rate of the plant protein beverage industry is expected to remain above 20% in the next few years. to 24.2%, with rapid development.

In terms of types and brands of processed beverages, a series of brands represented by six walnuts, Lulu almond dew, coconut palm coconut juice, etc. have been formed, and the development is relatively stable and balanced. Although the consumption of coconuts, walnuts, almonds, oats and nuts has been growing steadily, soybeans have always been the first choice for the production of plant-based beverages in China, and soy protein and soymilk are indispensable and important beverages on the table of Chinese people.

Relevant research shows that China’s newly launched soybean plant-based beverages account for 53% of all newly launched products, which is higher than the global market size of more than 40%. In recent years, studies have found that lactic acid fermentation is beneficial to the absorption of peptides and amino acids, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria, improving immunity, and resisting fire. Thanks to this, the development of plant-based fermented yogurt is also in the ascendant.

In 2018, Nongfu Spring launched the first plant-based soy yogurt product in china; In November 2019, Sanyuan cooperated with French Saint Yoho to launch French plant-based yogurt; at the same time, six walnuts also launched room temperature walnut fermentation in November 2019 New milk products, new products are constantly being introduced, and the vegetable protein beverage market is constantly enriched. However, the above-mentioned plant-based yogurt products are rare in the market at present, but whether their flavor and taste can be accepted by consumers is the key to the success of plant-based yogurt.

04 Development of plant-based meat products and innovation in processing technology

As a new type of vegetable protein ingredient, textured protein (drawn protein) is now widely used in meat products, frozen food, instant food, snack food, including ham sausage, frozen dumpling, instant noodle seasoning, fish balls, vegetarian chicken, vegetarian meat etc.

However, for the catering industry, how to fully combine the consumption and eating habits of Chinese people, in-depth development of plant source “meat” raw material processing technology, and realize the replacement of “real meat” in the catering industry, this will be plant source “meat”. Important way of product development and utilization of technological innovation.

In order to realize the rapid development of plant-based “meat” products, it is necessary to master the influence of plant-based raw material properties on quality, as well as the commercial properties of plant-based raw materials.

Taking peanut tissue protein as an example, the study found that the composition of raw materials directly affects the quality of peanut tissue protein. During the low-moisture extrusion process, the fat content in the raw material increased, and the degree of protein texture decreased. However, increasing the starch content in the raw material will increase the water solubility of tissue proteins, among which amylopectin and pregelatinized starch increase the protein dissolution rate of the product.

Taking the research of drawing protein as an example, the finished product of drawing protein produced at present has a low moisture content, a puffed sponge-like structure, and a high brittleness. It is prone to breakage during transportation and storage, resulting in reduced commodity performance of the product.

On the other hand, when the moisture content of the finished product is high, the risk of microbial growth and reproduction also increases, which seriously affects the food safety of the product.

Therefore, how to improve the softness of drawing protein on the basis of ensuring the edible safety of the product is also an urgent problem to be solved by drawing protein enterprises.

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