California-based Alpha Meals, a preferred plant-based model identified for its frozen burritos, wraps, tamales, and nuggets, launched plant-based Homestyle Chik’n Strips final 12 months to cater to shoppers from vegans to flexitarians to meat lovers.
The corporate, now a part of the The LIVEKINDLY Collective, says that its plant-based hen strips shred, style, and cook dinner identical to hen and describes them because the “most meat-like” plant-based hen.
To fulfill shopper calls for for a plant-based product that gives a meat-like consuming expertise, the corporate leverages Excessive Moisture Extrusion (HME) know-how however makes use of a singular processing method.
Alpha Meals explains that its HME methodology mixes and cooks soy and wheat in an extruder at particular temperatures. By means of this course of, the plant proteins soften and fold into strands that resemble the fibers answerable for the feel, juiciness, and mouthfeel present in hen merchandise. Concurrently, it makes use of high-pressure and high-heat extrusion to regulate the moisture and guarantee a juicy and tender texture.
Excessive protein and fewer elements
Furthermore, Alpha Meals claims that in addition to delivering a superior style and texture, its HME merchandise comprise fewer elements and supply increased protein content material, 18 grams per serving (double that of rivals), and decrease sodium ranges, focusing on health-conscious shoppers.
As well as, the corporate’s HME method gives versatility in shaping, permitting it to chop its hen into varied sizes and shapes, corresponding to strips and squares.
Though solely the plant-based hen strips are at present utilizing the HME know-how, Alpha Meals has introduced plans to roll out this manufacturing methodology for its core merchandise within the coming months to reinforce the consuming expertise for its shoppers.
Alpha Meals enjoys a powerful model presence within the US. Its merchandise can be found at 11,000 retail places, together with Costco, Kroger, Complete Meals, Safeway, H-E-B, Albertson’s, Sprouts, Sam’s Membership, and different shops nationwide. Moreover, Alpha Meals merchandise are served via varied foodservice channels, together with the army, schools, and universities.
HME fuels innovation
In keeping with IFF’s Nourish enterprise, HME at present accounts for about 20% of worldwide plant-based meat merchandise and is anticipated to develop by double digits by 2030 as extra producers worldwide flip to this course of.
Whereas varied applied sciences can be found for producing structured plant proteins, HME permits plant-based meals producers to change totally different parameters in response to their product design simply. This flexibility permits for improvements in plant-based meat, corresponding to Alpha Meals’ plant-based hen strips.
Nonetheless, Alpha Meals remains to be among the many few manufacturers utilizing it to make plant-based hen. Final month, the IFF introduced new high-moisture extrusion know-how methods (manufactured by the worldwide chief Coperion) to assist producers in creating fibrous, plant-based complete cuts and broaden using the know-how.
Alpha Meals founder and CEO Cole Orobetz shared in an interview with vegconomist: “The combination of HME fuels innovation, permitting us to create much more crave-worthy and nutritious plant-based choices in numerous codecs and flavors. By leveraging HME, we purpose to supply extra shoppers plant-based choices with elevated style and texture with uncompromising vitamin identical to its animal counterpart.”