The German government is investing $780,000 in research to make plant-based alternatives more meat-like in texture.
Researchers at Germany’s TU Berlin and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are focusing on production methods for plant-based meat in a project titled “Texturing Mechanisms in the Wet Extrusion of Soy and Pea Protein.
Extrusion is a texturizing process commonly used in the food industry to make many different products, such as breakfast cereal. In the process, food mixtures are passed through a series of nozzles at different temperatures. The varying effects of pressure and temperature on the mixture give the food its texture.
With the three-year funding from Germany’s government, the researchers plan to test new processes for vegan meats to better replicate the chewy, fibrous texture of animal products.
In a statement to ZME Science, KIT process engineer Azad Emin said:
We have developed an approach and a method which enable the process to be examined and controlled with the focus on changes in texture. … In further research, we want to make the texture and mouthfeel even more meat-like by adding lipids and pretextured protein components.
Germany is one of the fastest-growing places for veganism, in large part because of the country’s interest in animal welfare and environmental protection. A 2016 study based on 2008–2011 data estimated that 4.3 percent of Germans between 18 and 79 identified as vegetarian, with the majority between 18 and 29. In comparison, only 3.3 percent of people in the U.S. considered themselves vegan or vegetarian.
It should come as no surprise that Germany’s government is investing in meat alternatives. Last year Barbara Hendricks, Germany’s federal minister for the environment, banned all meat from official government functions in an effort to combat climate change.
And Germany isn’t the only government investing in vegan products. Canadian officials set aside $153 million to enable the country to provide more plant-based alternatives to meet the growing demand for vegan protein.
With more people learning about the environmental impact of animal agriculture and the cruelty farmed animals endure, veganism has become part of a cultural shift toward more sustainable and compassionate practices.
This is all great news for the billions of animals who suffer at factory farms each year. Cows, pigs, chickens, and fish raised and killed for food are subjected to unthinkable cruelties: tiny, filthy cages; brutal mutilations; torturous transport; and violent slaughter.
Thankfully, with so many great plant-based options, this is the perfect time to switch to a compassionate vegan lifestyle.
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