Exactly what is a blended protein? It’s considered a combination of meat and plant-based products. And it’s gaining in popularity.
“Blended proteins are an emerging trend in the marketplace,” says Marlo Mastalerz, Research & Development Chef and Director at Excalibur. “We’re leaning our new blended product development toward the flexitarian – consumers adhering to a plant-based diet, but who still enjoy introducing meat into their meals on occasion.”
Blended protein products sound simple, but the overall process involves much more than mixing seasoning into ground beef and mushrooms. On the heels of vast research and product testing, Excalibur’s R&D team recently developed Excalibur’s first patty blend using pea protein.
“Pea-based protein is non-GMO and allergen free, and what consumers are looking for today,” says Ray Duncan, Food Technologist with Excalibur. “As dietary demands have changed through the years, soy is no longer the only viable plant-based option. Pea protein addresses a variety of the needs many consumers have, and it is now manufactured and more readily available in the U.S.”
Pea protein is considered high in protein and a good source of iron. While meat extenders have been a common resource in R&D over the years, this is the first time Excalibur has focused on using pea protein in applications.
One of the key factors in developing with pea protein is producing the right flavor profile to enhance the experience, while maintaining structure and delivering a pleasant mouthfeel.
“Initial development introduced our Smoked Gouda Ancho Portabella seasoning and our Roasted Garlic & Onion seasoning to the blends,” says Duncan. “Sometimes plant-based products require masking agents to subdue the plant-like flavor profile they yield, but these two seasonings compliment the patties well. They offer a robust, savory flavor.”
Mastalerz added, “The past several months allowed us to focus attention toward developing what we feel is a very good product for today’s meat-conscious consumer.”
The market potential for blended meat options is on the upswing. Mastalerz says customers are looking for it, and Excalibur can provide great solutions and alternatives to meet the demand.
Excalibur’s blended products are expected to launch in 2021. For more information, contact a member or our sales team.