With demand from consumers stronger than ever, huge opportunities to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products such as meat, cheese, eggs, fish and seafood have opened to manufacturers.
Already recognised as a ‘hero ingredient’ in plant-based food, soy is the most used plant-based protein for food formulations globally and in the UK. As well as a multitude of nutritional benefits with its complete protein source, essential amino acids, and low levels of saturated fat, something that draws producers to the product is its versatility.
Soy performs well in the manufacturing process, withstanding high cooking temperatures without breaking down. It is able to be moulded into new shapes, making it the go-to product for brands looking to create nuggets, chunks, strips and flake-like textures.
Loma Linda, one of the sponsors of Food Manufacture’s virtual conference The Future of Plant-based Proteins: Roots of Further Growth, which aired on 31 March, is behind one of the UK’s first plant-based tuna alternative brands Tuno and range of ambient ready meals. It uses soy as a viable, nutritious protein source in all its products.
“The key challenges when creating plant-based food products is the taste and texture,” said Eric Woods, managing director of Worldwide Foods Associates, the UK distributor for Loma Linda. “Especially when it comes to foods which have a distinct texture such as tuna, plant-based consumers favour a product which looks, tastes and feels as similar to the real thing as possible.