The juiciness of food is really important to consumers. Next to flavour and texture, juiciness is the most important sensory attribute that meat alternatives must mimic if they are to replace traditional meat products. Therefore, in order to increase consumer acceptance of plant-based meat alternatives, their mouthfeel must be improved.
The juiciness of meat is defined as the impression of moisture and lubrication when meat is chewed in the mouth. It comes from two sources: the juice (both water and fat) which is released during chewing, and the amount of saliva it generates. This means that while crucial to increase the palatability of meat alternatives, juiciness is a complex and difficult characteristic to determine mechanically or chemically.
This project is developing an experimental toolbox which will help us to better characterise and understand the juiciness of plant protein-based meat alternatives. This will enable us to link juiciness to specific ingredients, product structure and processing.
Using this knowledge, we will make prototypes for juicy plant-based meat alternatives which have an improved sensory perception.