Transferring Marel technology to alternative-protein processing

Transferring Marel technology to alternative-protein processing

Marel (USA) - Plant-based meat company, Beyond Meat, has been on a rapid growth journey since it first set up shop in 2009, expanding its market share and product range each year.

The company has partnered with Marel to expand and innovate upon its product development process. It has integrated Marel’s low pressure RevoPortioner into operations at its innovation lab in California, where Beyond Meat develops its plant-based products.

Experimenting with texture and taste:

Consumers across the world are looking to eat more protein, and some traditional meat eaters are expanding their options by adding meat-alternatives to their diet. Consumer research carried out by Kantar Worldpanel indicates that half of global meat alternative sales come from meat eaters.

At the same time, a 2018 survey of British consumers showed that 30% of buyers found lab-grown meat very appealing, and according to AHDB Consumer Insights, veganism is the fastest growing dietary requirement on menus in restaurants, pubs, bars, and fast-food brands. The food industry is responding to these trends with a greater focus on new product development.

Beyond Meat invests in science and technology to better understand meat composition and architecture to be able to create equally full-flavored, meat-like alternatives from plants. New product development takes place at the company’s innovation lab in California, where food scientists and engineers research texture, flavor, and the consistency of ingredients to create plant-based meat.

The company’s product portfolio consists of plant-based chicken, sausages, crumbles (minced meat), and burgers, including its award-winning Beyond Burger. The plant-based burger is made of potato starch, coconut oil, pea proteins, and beet juice. To meet rising demand, the company opened a second production facility in Missouri last June that increased its manufacturing space threefold.

RevoPortioner installed at innovation lab:

The RevoPortioner is designed to produce meat, poultry, and fish products that are consistent in shape and weight. The texture and structure of the meat mass is preserved through low-pressure portioning technology. At Beyond Meat’s innovation lab in California, the RevoPortioner is now being used to form non-meat products.

"We have been keeping a close eye on the growing meat substitute market, and updating our technological knowledge accordingly. The RevoPortioner is uniquely designed to run at much lower pressures than competitive forming equipment, which allows us to deliver a finished product with maximum quality protein texture and minimum waste." - Ben Huisinga, Product Manager at Marel Further Processing.

Transferring Marel technology to alternative-protein processing:

Through its partnership with Beyond Meat, Marel has demonstrated the applicability of its technology to non-traditional protein processing. RevoPortioner technology has demonstrated significant benefits in retaining fiber orientation and product quality in non-meat and meat products.

An appetite for growth:

Beyond Meat’s products are sold at over 32,000 restaurants, supermarkets, universities, and hotels across the US. Recently, the company expanded into Canada, Europe, and developing markets, such as Hong Kong and the Middle East.

The rapidly growing company has caught the attention of Tyson Foods and Bill Gates, among others, who have invested in the brand. As Beyond Meat continues to grow, so does consumer appetite for meat-alternatives as part of a protein rich diet.

"Marel has a history of transferring the technology it has developed for one protein industry to another. We are excited to be in a partnership with Beyond Meat and to continuing to explore how we can apply our technology to respond to new trends and changing consumer habits." - Jesper Hjortshøj, Executive Vice President of Marel Further Processing.

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