Solina’s Future Food Programme is a project in which the Group is investing significant human and capital resources to enhance Innovation through research & development. The term ‘Future Food’ refers to protein-rich foods derived from non-livestock. These alternative sources of protein may be plant-based, but beyond plant-based and veggie dishes, Future Food could also contemplate future developments such as insects, laboratory-grown meat or bacterial proteins.
The programme is designed to respond to growing trends across Western Europe for alternative sources of protein, as consumers attempt to cut down on their intake of meat, whether for environmental, health, animal welfare or ethical reasons. Future Food caters to vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian diets – people who are not vegetarian but simply want to eat less meat while retaining the full pleasure of food. And that is why Solina is rethinking food today to develop our food for the future.
Innovating in the next protein food
Solina has set up a group-wide Future Food project to channel the significant lines of research that are investigating alternative protein sources that can be included within the Future Food programme. The project explores non-meat proteins and aims to create new and affordable consumer concepts and products that retain the full pleasure of food in terms of texture, flavour and variety, while also improving health and sustainability. It is about creating new solutions and food concepts, documenting new recipes and designing industrial processes to respond to the challenge of developing food that is better for the consumer and better for the planet.
At Solina, our market vision is based on our long-standing expertise as trusted providers of bespoke solutions that offer supreme taste and visual properties to the global food market. Our knowledge of meat-based proteins and our understanding of food science allow us to master the technology of developing alternative proteins. As well as providing customised and versatile solutions that meet our clients’ highest expectations of the food industry, this research programme also aims at designing complete product concepts for the Food Service and Butchery sectors while forging a strong position in the protein food market, which in turn will lead to a strong position in vegetarian food.
Four food innovation applications
Classic Veggie – Dry Texture Vegetable Proteins (TVP)
From the technological viewpoint, our R&D teams are already working on four distinct lines within the programme: the first we call Classic Veggie, based on textured vegetable proteins from dry plant sources such as wheat or soy, which appeal to vegans and vegetarians. Solina’s range of delicious, affordable and nutritionally-balanced meat substitutes can be applied in all kinds of dishes and recipes, responding to one of today’s main consumer trends.
Dairy Delight – everything but meat
Another product line that is already winning a place for itself on the Western European table is our Nextera® Dairy Delight dairy-based meat analogue. The main component of this 100% vegetarian substrate, available as slices, cubes or strips, is fresh cheese, combined with textured vegetable protein (TVP). It can be grilled, baked or fried in a pan, in a wok, as burgers, nuggets, etc., thus combining powerful taste experience and pleasant texture with a nutritional value similar to standard meat.
Nextera® Chuncks are a seitan-based, ready-to-use, shelf-stable substrate developed by Solina for clients in the butchery and food service sectors. With this product composed of wheat and chickpea proteins, we aim to take on the challenges faced by the extrusion industry by developing complete and bespoke solutions to help our clients to create their own applications with plant-based meat alternatives. Thanks to Nextera® Chuncks, butchers, chefs and all food service professionals will be able to create their own healthy and delicious meat-free burgers.
HME – High Moisture Extrudates
This third axis of Solina’s Future Food programme is cutting-edge technology that will set a milestone on the protein food business. HME are wet plant proteins extruded to ensure a fibrous texture which is unique on the market. They afford great juiciness to protein substrates, which allows for the same texture and organoleptic properties as actual meat to be created in a meat-substitute product. Wet extrusion is the future, offering a 100% non-animal product with unrivalled taste and texture characteristics to create meat analogues that cannot be met by any other plant protein material or technology. The FF Programme is designing new recipes and familiarisation tests with market professionals continue to explore further developments using HME.
Watch this space!