Vegetarian alternatives are on the rise, with much of the activity attributed to the growing number of flexitarians – people who are substantially reducing their meat consumption.

Suppliers are like ingredients company Hydrosol are on to it, and are developing products they hope will win them business in the space.

Hydrosol has developed a new compound which it claims enables the development of a wide range of meatless alternatives to ground meat and sausage.

The new compound enables the creation of a wide range of meatless products, including vegetarian sausages like wieners, bockwurst, hot dogs and liver loaf, as well as vegetarian ground “meat” that can be used in various applications.

“With our all-in compound from the HydroTOP VEG series, producers can make semi-finished products for individual further processing, as well as finished products that are ready to eat,” says Carsten Carstens, Hydrosol R&D Meat Products.

“Thus, with just one system many different vegetarian ground meat alternatives are possible, that can address different customer groups and open up promising new marketing opportunities.”

They are suited to large-scale users like food service operators who can use the semi-finished products in logs or pre-ground form to provide the basis for many different foods.

Industrial manufacturers can also use them to produce a range of vegetarian retail items, according to Hydrosol.

The vegetarian ground provides a basis for vegetarian bolognaise sauce, hearty stews and soups, chili sin carne and lasagne, as well as “meat” crumbles for tacos, frozen pizza, and ravioli.

Like real ground meat, the meatless version is freeze-thaw stable, and equally suitable for frozen foods, canned foods and sauces in jars.

Moreover, says Hydrosol, the vegetarian ground has exactly the same taste as the animal product, and fries just as crispy.

The products also have the familiar mouth feel that consumers are accustomed to from conventional ground meat, so meat eaters will enjoy them too.

HydroTOP VEG is also high in protein and low in fat, according to the company:

“We use soy and egg white protein. That makes this all-in compound free of dairy products, as well as gluten and phosphates. The seasoning is completely free of flavour enhancers like monosodium glutamate. And of course, we use natural colours.”

HydroTOP VEG is a hydrocolloid-protein combination with emulsifying and stabilising components, which makes production straightforward.

It contains all the ingredients for the complete formulation, including a mild basic seasoning that can be enhanced as desired.

It needs only to be stirred together with water, salt and vegetable oil, formed, and then cooked. The vegetarian ground product is then ready for further processing, its maker says.

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