Meat- and Fish Alternatives

Overcoming Challenges and Grasping Opportunities in Plant-Based Meat

What does the future hold for plant-based meat? This is by no means an easy question, but one that the food industry is racing to find the answers to.

In its latest New Food Hub podcast, ProVeg International’s Gemma Tadman explores the plant-based meat space with Andy Shovel, Co-founder of THIS.

In the short interview, the pair discuss the evolving market for plant-based meat, as well as the accompanying challenges and opportunities.

Mimicking the meat experience

During the podcast, Tadman asks Shovel about crucial factors in attracting flexitarian consumers to plant-based meat products. Shovel explains that it is imperative for products intended to replicate animal-based meats to mimic the taste, texture, and flavour of those products.

Updates THIS beef burger

So, how does THIS make sure its offerings achieve this?

“We have been really big on R&D since we launched the company,” Shovel says, “or even before then, to be honest, when it was just me and Pete.”

“It’s a bit of a cliche,” Shovel continues, “but we’re built differently as a company to most of the brands in the plant-based industry because we have a fully internal, full-time science and R&D team. At the moment, that’s about 20 scientists who are working on formulations and breakthroughs in plant-based food.”

Despite the costs, THIS felt that an internal R&D centre was vital to create high-quality products that match (and surpass) the experience of animal products.

“If you are producing meat alternatives,” Shovel says, “and it’s a poor approximation that doesn’t give people that same taste experience and enjoyment, there’s just no point doing it because you damage the category more than you help it.”

A new on-the-go plant-based chicken wrap
Image courtesy of THIS

Looking ahead

However, when asked about the future, Shovel suggests that plant-based proteins will take an exciting new direction. “In the future, we will branch out and not just produce products which mimic meat,” Shovel says. “We want to produce ultra-healthy unprocessed, whole food-based products, which are centre of plate proteins but don’t necessarily replicate an animal.”

A new plant-based category? An exciting possibility!

Listen to the full podcast on the New Food Hub to learn more about navigating the alt-protein space, including the negative narratives that circulate the marketplace. Please get in touch with ProVeg for support on your alternative protein strategy by contacting [email protected].

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