Product development and laboratory research
The market for vegetarian and vegan alternatives for meat is growing spectacularly, certainly in the Netherlands and Germany. Meat replacements in the supermarket often have the appearance and texture of meat products, such as vegetarian schnitzels, sausages and burgers. Soy is often used as the source of protein in these plant-based products, but also other legumes such as lupine. There are also traditional Asian soy products such as tofu and tempeh. New protein-rich ingredients and base materials are also used in meat replacements, such as seaweed, algae and insects. There is much investment in product development in this market. Laboratory testing is essential in this.
Determining nutritional value
A meat replacement contains protein, vitamins B1 and/or B12 and iron. The Nutrition Center has determined that a good meat replacement contains more than 20 percent protein, more than 0.8 mg of iron per 100 grams, more than 0.06 milligrams of vitamin B1 per 100 grams and/or 0.24 mg vitamin B12 per 100 grams. And additionally not too much saturated fat and salt and no added sugar. The GBA Group has recognized analysis methods at hand to determine other vitamins and also the nutritional value of vegetarian and vegan products.
The meat replacements in the supermarkets are sometimes considered “ready-to-eat” by the NVWA despite the fact that the consumer must reheat them. This means that the product must also meet the requirements for managing the risk of the pathogenic bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. The GBA Group is accredited for performing challenge tests. According to a scientifically founded protocol, GBA can thus show whether or not Listeria monocytogenes can grow to pathogenic levels during the shelf life.
The GBA Group can also perform research into the presence of other pathogens such as salmonella and shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC). The GBA Group also specializes in tenability testing. If, for example, a product must have a “clean label”, this can have consequences for the shelf life. GBA has analyses on hand that support in the realization of a clean label, such as the determination of organic acids. In addition, the GBA Group helps manufacturers who want a clean label by performing various specialized tenability tests.
Contaminants and allergens
The basic materials used in meat substitutes may contain contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticide residues and mycotoxins. The GBA Group performs chemical analyses to determine whether the basic materials meet the legal requirements. The GBA Group can also analyze whether the meat replacement contains residues of mineral oils (MOSH/MOAH). Using allergy tests, we can rule out that certain allergens are present in the final product, such as (traces of) nuts or peanuts. For vegan products, using DNA techniques we can check whether these are “animal-free”.
Customized for your analysis query
The specialists at the GBA also provide tailored analysis solutions. A personal approach, flexibility and quality are at the forefront.