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Plant-based food has entered the “take-off year” of scientific and technological innovation and enabling industry

If 2019 is the year of plant-based meat, then 2020 will be the year of plant-based explosion, and 2021 will be the year of plant-based take-off, which will be the year of plant-based explosion. With the acceleration of the layout of the head food enterprises, plant-based food finally has a place in the ordinary people’s vegetable basket, plant milk, plant-based yogurt, plant-based protein drinks, plant-based steak, plant-based snacks and so on quietly onto the dining table of residents.

So, is the plant-based food that represents the advanced consumption concept fragrant or not? How is it doing in the domestic consumer market? What are the challenges ahead? What scientific questions still need to be answered in terms of processing properties, nutrition, etc.? From May 13th to 14th, the Plant-based Food Innovation and Development Forum and the 4th Board Founding Meeting of the Plant-based Food Branch of China Food Science and Technology Society, which was hosted by Chinese Society of Food Science and Technology and undertook by Chinese Society of Food Science and Technology, was held in Shanghai. Meng Suhe, Chairman of the Chinese Society of Food Science and Technology, Shao Wei, Vice Chairman and Secretary General, and Fan Yongxiang, Deputy Director of the National Center for Food Safety Risk Assessment attended the meeting. At the meeting, industry experts introduced the latest progress in this emerging food field.

Gather the advantages of science and technology circles and industry circles to consolidate the scientific foundation of the industry

As food science and technology of China society of Meng Su load on May 13, plant-based food branch, the fourth session of the council was set up at the meeting said soy products cannot be confused and plant-based foods, how to distinguish, policy on how to clarify, there are a lot of work to do, to the industry consensus, multidisciplinary cross, common solid scientific foundation, the health industry more healthy. As a result, the Chinese Society of Food Science and Technology (CAFS) Plant Based Food Branch came into being and elected a new council member. Wang Jing, chief scientist of the Institute of Food and Nutrition Development under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, was elected president of the branch.

Shao Wei, vice chairman and secretary general of China Association of Food Science and Technology, said that at the beginning of the rise of the industry, China Association of Food Science and Technology united a group of scientists and enterprises to carry out industrial exchanges and science popularization and promote the consolidation of the scientific foundation of the industry. Two group standards, “Plant-based Meat Products” and “General Principles of Plant-based Food”, have been formulated to fill in the standard gaps, encourage innovation in the industry, and provide a basis for regulating and strengthening supervision of industry development. It is under this background that the Chinese Association of Food Science and Technology established the Plant Based Food Branch to gather more advantages of science and technology and industry, so as to form the combined strength of the plant based food industry. Plant-based food branch of food science and technology institute of China, agricultural NongCunBu Wang Jing of food and nutrition development institute chief scientist thinks, in the backdrop of the global plant nutrition health boom, plant-based foods, fresh air to become the industry’s mouth, along with the increasing of the national demand for health multi-dimensional, plant-based market ushered in the new round of consumer dividends. In order to promote the rapid development of plant-based food and meet the new healthy choices of consumption, the scientific and technological circles and the industrial circles are inclined to consolidate the scientific theoretical basis of plant-based food and carry out technological innovation research, so as to improve the nutritional level of plant-based food and meet the new demand of healthy and delicious.

How much do plant-based foods matter to Chinese consumers?

According to the latest SPINS data from the Plant Based Foods Association (PBFA) and the Good Food Institute (GFI) : Retail sales of plant-based foods grew by double digits in 2020, almost twice as fast as the total U.S. retail food market, outpacing sales of conventional animal foods for the third year in a row. As of December 27, 2020, the retail channel for plant-based foods in the United States grew by 27%, reaching a market capitalization of $7 billion.

How is the plant-based market developing in China, where there has been a vegetarian diet since ancient times? Meat and dairy products are among the leading plant-based foods, with the global plant-based meat market forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15% and to reach $27.9 billion by 2025, according to Markets and Markets Market Research. By 2023, China’s plant-based meat market will be worth $13 billion, Euromonitor predicts. This also means that the Chinese plant-based meat market will account for almost half of the global market in the next few years. According to the Analysis Report on Market Demand and Investment Planning of China’s Vegetable Protein Drink Industry in 2020-2025 released by Foreview Industry Research Institute, the average annual growth rate of China’s plant milk industry is expected to remain above 20% in the next few years, and the market size of plant milk is expected to exceed RMB 300 billion in 2025.

In Wang Jing’s view, COVID-19 is reshaping global health, and plant-based food will become one of the main directions for the future development of the global food industry. He said, China has issued the “healthy China 2030” planning outline “and” national nutrition programs, such as a number of policies and measures to guide food nutrition industry development, all countries in the world publishing industry report and dietary guidelines to guide food nutrition health industry development, one of the most typical plant-based food industry, has entered a new stage of development.

The rapid growth of the market is inseparable from the excellent nutrition and health efficiency of plant-based foods. Ma Guansheng, a professor at the School of Public Health of Peking University, believes that nutrition is the material basis for maintaining life and health. Nutrition comes from the food system and is closely related to the production, processing, circulation, consumption and waste of food. The food system not only determines the food supply, but also plays a significant role in sustainable development. According to The report published in 2019 by The Lancet and The Environmental Action Group (EAT), unsustainable food systems are one of The main causes of environmental damage. Reducing emissions through the food system is conducive to sustainable development. Contributes to human health and sustainable development through healthy eating and sustainable food systems. Plant based food can replace part of animal food, but also has the characteristics of low food safety risk, low carbon and environmental protection. Developing and promoting the production and consumption of plant-based foods will help reduce the consumption of animal-based foods and increase the intake of plant-based foods, contribute to the transformation of healthy diets, and play an important role in reducing food waste, promoting low carbon and environmental protection, and promoting the sustainable development of the food system.

Jiang Yifan, director of scientific and regulatory affairs at the Food Industry Association of Asia (FIA), takes a similar view. Global food demand is expected to double, especially in Asian countries, with a projected global population growth of 9.7 billion by 2050, coupled with a new wave of urbanization and an increase in middle-class consumers, he said. That growth will drive demand for more new foods, especially proteins.

As a brand – new food, plant-based food also represents advanced consumption concept. Yang Yong, director of innovation ecosystem in Asia Pacific region of Buller (China) Investment Co., Ltd, said that food in the future is a representative product of human’s future production mode, lifestyle, technological progress and civilization development. It is characterized by “more sustainable, more nutritious, safer and more delicious”. The realization of these characteristics depends on the progress of multidisciplinary technology and requires the open innovation of the whole food industry chain. At the technical level, innovative proteins represented by plant-based proteins can reduce the carbon emissions of the entire agricultural and food industry chain and realize the sustainable development of the agricultural and food industry. The technological innovation and industrial upgrading of grain and food processing through biosynthesis technology will be the focus of agricultural and food industry in the future. Effectively using microorganisms to produce food can not only meet the human needs for nutrition, but also achieve the requirements of recycling economy and green development.

Defining and standardizing the market will help the industry develop in high quality

On the one hand, the domestic market has a rich accumulation of plant-based products, on the other hand, the concept of plant-based frequently encountered doubts in the market. The question is, what is plant-based food in the end, we from snacks to big bran, gluten is not it?

For the above phenomenon, plant-based food branch of China food science and technology institute, China agricultural university, vice director of institute of food science and nutrition engineering professor shun-tang guo said, as the plants plant base base meat products, dairy products and other innovative plant-based foods more and more popular in the global market, become a new choice of consumer health. There are still many problems to be solved and regulated at the regulatory level of plant-based food, and there is also a lack of regulations and standards for product quality specifications of plant-based food worldwide.

In 2020, the Chinese Society for Food Science and Technology issued the group standard for Plant-based Meat Products, and is organizing the formulation of the General Principles for Plant-based Food. According to Guo, not all products with plant materials are called plant-based, and group standards are conducive to clarifying the definition and market positioning of products, encouraging R&D and innovation, regulating the market, and better meeting the needs of consumers. He also said that in addition to existing group standards, industry standards and national standards need to be gradually developed to better regulate corporate behavior.

What other thresholds do plant-based foods have to cross to go from “really hot” to “really tasty”?

The biggest problem facing the popularity of plant-based foods is consumers. What do people who bought it think? Would you like to repurchase it? What are the reasons for the unwillingness to repurchase? When consumers taste plant-based foods with curiosity, what is the first reaction?

Taking plant meat as an example, data from [1] IFF shows that 55% of consumers expect plant meat to have the same flavor, texture and appearance as animal meat, and 74% of those who are reluctant to buy again feel that these plant meat products are not as good as real meat.

According to Yang Yanqing, IFF’s strategic marketing manager, the technical challenges of plant-based meat have six aspects, namely texture, color, health, safety, smell and juiciness. “For each module, we need to carefully select food ingredients and combine them into a product that is closer to animal meat. She explained: ‘The new type of plant meat mimicking animal meat is multi-dimensional. For example, the melting point of plant fat and animal fat and the taste curve in the mouth are completely different. We will simulate the feeling of fat melting in the mouth through special combination, making it more like animal fat.

“For consumers, the ideal plant-based meat product is an alternative to traditional meat that ‘looks like meat, smells like meat and tastes like meat,'” Yang Jing, manager of the meat products and condiments group at IFF China Research and Development Center, explains in a more straightforward way.

Plant-based foods branch of China food science and technology institute, Chinese academy of agricultural sciences, vice director of institute of agricultural products processing, deputy director of the analysis of wang qiang, with peanut protein, soy protein, wheat protein, vegetable protein, such as pea protein as the main raw material of plant-based meat products, using extrusion technology, divided into low moisture extrusion technology and high moisture extrusion technology two kinds, The former is mainly used as an additive to meat products, while the latter has a rich fibrous structure and a texture similar to animal meat. At present, the high moisture extrusion technology has achieved a breakthrough from the research on the formation mechanism of fiber structure to the development of key technical equipment and products. Plant-based meat type and the future development should focus on strengthening the synthetic evaluation of quality improvement and nutrition function, innovation and development of new core plant-based meat processing technology and equipment, to explore the application of intelligent control and virtual reality technology, suitable for the development of the Chinese consumer habits of color, flavor and nutrition with the new plant meat products.

Plant-based foods branch of China food science and technology institute, Beijing university of industry and commerce, vice director of food and health, a professor at the school, national soybean processing industry technology innovation center chief scientist Liu Xinqi also thinks, to plant protein as raw material to produce alternative to meat is a kind of sustainable “future food supply options, but plants meat, there are many problems in the development of China, For example, the control of key compounds of plant protein odor components, the breakthrough of structure-activity relationship of extruded protein structure, the clear nutritional characteristics of meat products replaced by plant protein, the risk points existing in the production process and the establishment of quality standard system and other key technical problems.

In addition to the above consumer “joke” problem, the experts also said that the current plant-based food industry still exists many problems, one is the foundation of science and technology is not solid, whether it is the basic theoretical research, processing technology, equipment need to be further improved; Second, the industry is too eager for quick success and instant benefits, so it needs to settle down to polish products, control quality and strengthen consumer education. Third, consumer recognition is not high. Consumers who know about plant-based food are concentrated in the first and second-tier cities, and the market size is far smaller than that of developed countries. Fourth, the product level needs to be improved, is still in the stage of “good but not popular”, the taste of the product is far from meeting the needs of consumers, but also need to work hard.

Therefore, enterprises aim at the direction of scientific and technological innovation “more like meat than real meat” products. Dong Ting, general manager of Tianjin Meikang Food Co., Ltd. introduced that the development of plant protein meat products with high sensory experience and beyond the nutritional value of authenticity has been the grand goal pursued by many plant protein meat manufacturing enterprises. Based on the differences between Chinese and Western diets, the structural changes of meat in cooking and the generation of flavor substances, the company carries out directional product design according to different application scenarios, fully explores the processing and nutritional composition characteristics of raw materials and carries out the development of a series of plant protein meat products.

New application scenarios for functional food into plant-based subdivision racetracks

The global functionality market is expected to exceed $275 billion, according to a report released by data provider TasteWise. Consumer interest in functional foods continues to rise, with more than a third of consumers looking for functional benefits in their food. Over the past year, consumers looking for physical and mental health benefits in food and drinks have increased by 23 percent.

Facing the blue sea of functional food, which segment track is worth paying attention to? The industry and the tech community are looking for answers.

At the forum, Shen Qun, secretary general of the Plant Based Food Branch of the Chinese Society of Food Science and Technology and professor of the College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering of China Agricultural University, introduced the research progress of millet protein’s hypoglycemic function. “We choose C57BL / 6 j mice as the research object, adopting joint STZ induced formation of diabetes in mice a high-fat diet, from diabetes related indicators, intestinal flora and liver signal pathways compared the cooked millet protein isolated in hypoglycemic function, found that both can improve glucose metabolism disorders in mice, caused the change of intestinal flora, This also benefits the hypoglycemic function of both. The cooked millet protein isolate can exert better hypoglycemic effects by inhibiting weight loss and reducing triglyceride levels in diabetic mice, and activating the GLP-1R/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in the liver.” Shen Qun said that this study further revealed that changes in intestinal flora and serum metabolic profiles contribute to the hypoglycemic function of Gliadin in cooked millet, and identified Gliadin as the main hypoglycemic component of millet protein.

Zeng Ping, vice president of the Plant Food Branch of the Chinese Society for Food Science and Technology and director of the Epidemic Department of the Beijing Institute of Geriatrics under the National Health Commission, is more concerned about whether plant-based foods can solve the problem facing geriatrics, which is that insufficient protein intake leads to sarcophagia. “China is facing the pressure of rapid and large-scale population aging. It is an important strategy to maintain a good physical functioning state and the ability to live independently to achieve healthy aging. Nutritional problems can accelerate physical decline and functional degradation of the elderly, increase the risk of disability and dementia, and seriously affect the quality of life of the elderly, which is a major challenge for healthy aging.” She added that the lack of protein in older people is a major cause of the disease. Studies have shown that increasing protein intake and exercise and resistance training can lead to significant muscle building. Similar benefits can be achieved with plant protein supplementation. Therefore, it is worthwhile to develop plant-based foods to meet the health needs of the elderly.

Xiong Tao, executive deputy director of the State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology at Nanchang University, is more optimistic about the potential of probiotic fermentation technology in the development of plant-based foods. He believes that developing plant-based products fermented by lactic acid bacteria with the potential to improve chronic diseases is the future.

At the summit, IFF Nourish Asia Pacific business development director Joe wins, buhler (China) investment co., LTD., the asia-pacific director Yang Chong innovation system, Beijing hon jubilee aspiration technology co., LTD., chairman of Zhao Fanhong, Beijing tongrentang health pharmaceutical (ningxia) co., LTD., chairman of Tang Hui, gansu leader industrial group co., LTD., deputy his if Joan, the qinghai-tibet plateau, qinghai mutual barley wine co Limited company general manager assistant Liang Feng, east China agricultural science and technology limited liability company chairman NiuYan nongfu spring co., LTD., the digest group peng-gui zhai scientific and regulatory affairs director and business representatives, respectively from the development strategy development, equipment, plant area, improve flavor, health demand, product research and development and industry standard published views.