Comparison of Physicochemical Characteristics of Meat and Meat Analogues

There is a reduction on meat consumption in dietary due to concerns on health, environment, and ecological aspects. Consumption of plant-protein diet has the tendency to lower body weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. However, the introduction of these new type of protein still possesses some disadvantages against animal meat.

Meat analogue or texturized vegetable protein (TVP) is a plant-based protein that contains high essential amino acids that our body needs, low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. Currently, products made from TVP can be divided into 3 types. Ground mimicker, comminuted, and whole muscle.

Similarities of TVP and meat, especially in taste and eating sensation highly influenced the buying motives and power of the consumers. Several research revealed that by utilizing soy protein as well with wheat gluten as the ingredient of the TVP can impart texture, appearance, taste, smell, functionality, and nutrition like meat. To test the similarities of the TVP characteristics. Beef, pork, and chicken meats are used because these meats are the most consumed meats since 2017.

Physicochemical Properties

The color of TVP is significantly affected by extrusion process. The change of color is due to Maillard reaction, caramelization, hydrolysis, and pigment degradation. Same thing happens with the color of the 3 meats. The heating process such as boiling or searing influences the change of color due to the oxidation and denaturation of the myoglobins in meat which produces different colors.

Heat treatment also has effect on moisture and amino acid content of the TVP and the meats. Moisture content of TVP is higher rather than the raw ones. It indicates that there is a reduction on total amino acid contents. However, the moisture content of the meats was lower to their respective raw ones. This indicates that there is an increase in total amino acids due to water loss.  The major amino acids found in both raw and TVP are glutamic acid, aspartic acid, proline, and leucine. Meanwhile, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, lysine, and leucine are the major amino acids found in meats. Overall TVP has lower content on both essential and non-essential amino acids than meats.

Figure 1. Physicochemical and Textural Properties of TVP and Meats

Textural Properties

Water absorption capacity (WAC) is important because it is an essential parameter that indicates the quality of the products.  WAC of TVP is higher than those 3 meats. It may be attributed to the type of protein, interaction of the protein, and water interaction.

Texture profile analysis and cutting strength are measured in springiness, cohesiveness, chewiness, transversal, and longitudinal cutting strength. Comparing with the three meats, cutting strength is higher in meat (beef) while the chicken is the lowest. The differences of that is caused by myofibrillar proteins, collagen, elastin, and fat density.


Figure 2. Moisture and Amino Acid Contents

Is TVP bad?

Even though the physicochemical characteristics and texture of this TVP did not obviously show like meats, it still can be a good base for plant-based dishes. By adding other ingredients such as soy and mushrooms, TVP can act as a supporting role for those ingredients. It results in higher content of nutrition, amino acids, and textural feels to meat itself. This is what exactly Meatless Kingdom do, which is adding another ingredient to increase the functionality of the TVP. Because of that we can create plant-based food that people love due to its #Authentic Indonesian Taste and textural feel of the “meat” in the mouth.

Source:Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, Volume 99, Issue 6, 2019
Image by: istockphoto.com

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