Melt&Marble creates animal-free fats to help close taste gap between alternative, animal proteins

Consumer research shows that taste and texture are the most important factors in the decision to buy – or not – plant-based meat, but more often than not the products currently on the market fall short of expectations.

According to research by Ingredion, 53% of consumers said taste and texture are the most important characteristic ​when selecting a plant-based meat – far higher than the 39% you listed as a top priority whether products have a clean or all natural label and the 37% who said they consider nutrition. Likewise, research by Kerry​ found 80% of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to buy plant-based burgers that are marketed as “rich and savory.”

The problem is products’ inability to deliver on those marketing claims and expectations, which is reflected in research by Mintel that found 48% of consumers said taste and flavor were major concerns ​when considering plant-based versus animal protein.

Recognizing that “there is a bit of a taste gap between animal tastes and alternative proteins,”​ Melt&Marble co-founder and CEO Anastasia Krivoruchko told FoodNavigator-USA that better fat could hold the key.

“Fat is a big contributor to this taste gap. The fats that are being used right now, such as coconut, for example, don’t have the same sensory properties as meats. You don’t get the same mouthfeel, you don’t get the same juiciness or same flavor,”​ she explained. “And this is basically what we are trying to fix.”

As a frontrunner in the animal-free space, Melt&Marble is using precision fermentation to produce fats that offer similar fatty-acid compositions and saturation levels as those in fats from animal protein and dairy.

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