Israel-based seed tech specialist Equinom says that its advanced non-GMO crossbreeding technology is “upending the plant-based meat sector” by allowing manufacturers to close the gap between consumer demand for cleaner meat alternatives and innovating palate-pleasing, affordable products.
With the clean-label revolution hitting the mainstream thanks to consumers seeking simple-to-understand labels on food products, ‘clean’ has taken on an expanded meaning. “Natural products not only need to exclude additives and preservatives; they also must have short, simple ingredient lists,” says Itay Dana, marketing director for Equinom. “Unfortunately, despite the buzz, plant-based meat products don’t necessarily support clean-labeling.”
Equinom says that many natural ingredients still require extensive processing to allure health- and ethic-minded customers. This over-processing, it says, strips products of taste and functionality. To achieve palate appeal as well as nutritional and sales objectives, manufacturers often resort to masks, flavour enhancers, fillers and highly processed ingredients, such as protein isolates.
“In contrast, Equinom’s seeds for plant ingredients make processing nearly irrelevant because Equinom’s whole beans deliver on taste and nutritional goals that are closer to producers’ needs,” says Dana. “Equinom’s breeding technology grows better-for-you ingredients that do away with over-processing, simplify ingredient lists and eliminate the need for additives, so producers can go ‘from plant to product’ in fewer steps.”
Equinom says that its proprietary solution can give manufacturers the opportunity to brand their products with a cleaner label in order to drive strong consumer adoption.
“Equinom breeds specifically for organoleptic properties, custom-designing plant varieties that have revived great taste, appealing texture and improved nutrition,” explains Sigal Meirovitch, PhD, head of protein development for Equinom. “The company has restored these high-demand qualities naturally in the crops, demonstrating that one plant can have it all.”
By leveraging the whole plant and designating key components to meet food company product development needs, Equinom aims to maximize component contribution using minimum separation, which also reduces the need to mask unpleasant tastes. Equinom uses electronic sensing systems such as e-tongue and e-nose for high-throughput analysis of off flavors, which helps top quality and accelerate breeding.
Dana says that says Equinom’s advanced computational breeding techniquesare “upending the plant-based meat industry…uprooting previously entrenched limitations and delivering seeds for source ingredients that are setting the functional, financial and eco-friendly standards in the market.”