Cultivated Meat

Coperion Introduces “Texture Solutions” for Plant-Based and Cultivated Meat

Coperion, a leader in compounding and twin screw extrusion equipment and systems for alternative proteins, has developed an innovative texturizing unit for its extruder to help manufacturers mimic animal flesh more easily.

Called the MEGAtex S7, Coperion’s new equipment is mounted at the discharge of the ZSK Food Extruder, allowing producers to switch between making texturized vegetable proteins (TVP) and high-moisture meat analogs (HMMA).

TVP and HMMA products are manufactured using accurate feeding systems and a food extruder. When the melt discharges from the extruder, the setup significantly differs. While TVP is released and directly cut at the nozzle plate, HMMA requires a special cooling die. In the cooling die, the material is cooled down and forced into a laminar flow, creating a meat-like structure.

Extrusion for cultivated meat?

At Anuga FoodTec 2024, John Sheehy, the Global Key Account Manager for Alternative Proteins at Coperion, presented the company’s extruders and the new MEGAtex S7 to explain their capabilities in improving the texture of plant-based meat and also an unexpected alt-protein category: cultivated meat.

As reported by the platform Making Food, Sheehy said that TVPs can be used to enhance and deliver a remarkably meat-like consistency to cultivated meat products that fail to mimic these important features of real meat.

The ZSK Food Extruder
ZSK Food Extruder © Coperion

Extrusion for “meaty” textures

As explained by Coperion, TVP is known for its dry consistency and versatility, with forms including crumbles, flakes, and strips. Although it boasts a long shelf life when stored correctly, TVP requires hydration before use, typically by soaking in water or another liquid. This makes it a convenient option for various dishes, from meatless Bolognese to vegan chicken breast.

In contrast, HMMA contains a high proportion of moisture, ranging from 50-80%. This makes it a popular choice for ready-to-eat meat alternatives, as its moisture content closely resembles that of lean meat. The unique texture of HMMA is achieved through a specialized cooling die process during manufacturing, which creates a meat-like structure.

The MEGAtex S7 cooling die has been designed to meet HMMA’s quality criteria, focusing on texture, strength, and fiber length to mimic the texture of meat. With this introduction, Coperion aims to provide smaller companies, research organizations, and startups the flexibility and efficiency to produce high-quality plant-based meat.

Overall, Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruder and the MEGAtex S7 cooling die set a new standard for companies creating plant-based or cultivated meat products that deliver the same organoleptic experience as traditional meat.

“The market for plant-based meat substitutes is growing exponentially, and it’s very important to us to propel this development forward with innovative technologies,” said Markus Schmudde, Head of Research and Development, Compounding & Extrusion at Coperion.

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