Partial substitution of pork meat by (extruded) pea protein products to obtain high-quality cooked sausages

Meat (products) are a good source of high-quality proteins, vitamins and minerals. However, the meat processing chain has a considerable impact on the environment through the use of land and increased GHG emissions. To prevent global malnutrition without further compromising the environment, partial substitution of meat by plant-based proteins need to be investigated.

In this study, the underlying mechanisms and the effects on nutritional (amino acid profile), techno-functional (emulsion stability, network formation, texture) and sensorial (colour and taste tests) aspects when replacing 20% of lean pork meat with Pea Protein Isolate (PPI), pea Low Moisture Extrudate (LME) and pea High Moisture Extrusion (HME) in a hybrid emulsified cooked sausage were analysed. All hybrid sausages contained no limiting essential amino acids. PPI, LME and HME acted as fillers in the hybrid network and diluted the performance of the meat proteins, resulting in a less stable network and softer cooked sausages.

Moreover, in case of LME and HME, cavities in the sausages were observed, which was caused by the bigger particle size and the less flexible structure of these protein products. Due to the presence of these cavities, these hybrid sausages were considered unacceptable. Next to this, the taste panel noted no significant differences between the hybrid sausage with PPI and its reference cooked sausage. The most promising results were obtained when using PPI, however, when replacing more than 20% of meat, attention must be given to the stability of the network.

A presentation Keshia Broucke, Research associate at Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO).

View of the Speaker

Question 1: What drives you?
There are many different drivers to me when it comes to researching (alternative) proteins. First, it is clear that our current pattern of consumption is far from a sustainable way of living. We need to lower our meat consumption, without inducing global malnutrition. Investigating the nutritional properties of alternative proteins are therefore crucial. Next to this, techno-functional and sensorial aspects are also important during development of meat alternatives; especially here, research is limited though emerging. Overall, our aim should be thoroughly researching the capacities and abilities of alternative proteins in terms of nutrition, techno-functionality and sensory, then using this knowledge to further improve current meat alternatives (or develop new ones) in order to provide sustainable, healthy and tasty products.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your session?
The attendees will obtain more knowledge about the properties of pea proteins as such and in extruded form, and its ability to partially replace pork meat in an emulsified matrix. More novel and in-depth information will be given specifically about the interaction between pea and meat proteins, resulting in more insights towards the textural properties of these proteins, which in turn can be used for the R&I community.

Question 3: What emerging technologies / trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
(industrial) Protein extraction lines and High Moisture Extrusion. Through protein extraction lines, we can explore the potential of current and novel protein sources, where we can obtain flours, concentrates and isolates. Through High Moisture Extrusion, we can produce qualitative meat analogues that are approved by consumers. Both are innovative and flexible techniques, resulting in many and diverse protein end-products.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
I expect a significant impact. Investigating and developing more and diverse protein products will result in an enlarged assortment of alternative protein products, for which each product could meet the consumers’ expectation.

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
There are some barriers such as nutrition (e.g. limiting essential amino acids, digestibility), techno-functional (e.g. lower solubility) and/or sensorial (e.g. beany taste), though through innovative techniques, we should be able to overcome most, if not all, of these barriers. The main barrier I foresee, would be consumers. Consumers can show a negative attitude towards these novel alternative protein products, or deem them as unhealthy, “bad” taste, … . If we don’t convince the consumer of the high quality of these alternative proteins, then it does not matter how many novel protein sources and products we discover and develop.

About Keshia Broucke
Keshia Broucke is currently working on her PhD about the functional, nutritional, and sensorial properties of selected plant-based proteins and their application into meat products at ILVO. She is also involved in various research projects concerning the functional, sensorial, and nutritional aspects of alternative proteins. Previously, she worked as a research associate where her main focus was on the production of hybrid sausages and optimization of consumers’ appreciation of several meat products by altering analytical parameters. She published scientific articles as (co-) author and participated in many congresses.

About Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO)
Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (ILVO) is an independent scientific research institute of Flanders Government. Its assignment from the government is to work on the sustainability of agriculture, fisheries and agri-food sector. ILVO’s work is strongly anchored in Flanders and extends from there to Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world. The mission of ILVO is clear and remarkably contemporary: to build knowledge that will make it possible to produce enough healthy and varied food for the 10 billion people that the world will need to feed while staying within our planetary limits.

Keshia Broucke is speaker at the 2022 edition of the Protein Transition Conference, part of the Agrifood Innovation Event.

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