Today many consumers are looking to replace meat products in some of their meals or completely commit to a vegetarian or vegan diet. How can food manufacturers step into this segment and seize opportunities offered by new markets? In the dynamically growing New Food market, GEA already has a unique position and knows how to meet this growing demand reliably, consistently, efficiently, and in a sustainable way. Therefore, New Food is one of seven strategic levers, which drive GEA's growth strategy Mission 26 for the next five years.
GEA, one of the leading suppliers of processing and packaging solutions for food, can deliver a complete technology portfolio based on proven testing and significant experience from extracting protein from the plant material and processing the mixture of high-quality ingredients. GEA offers much more than high-tech machines, from extracting – mixing – forming – coating – frying – cooking – cooling to packaging. The company is a strategic partner to the food industry and develops new meat-free products with its customers and creates integrated process solutions that perfectly fit the processing needs.
Meet consumer expectations
Today consumers prefer meat alternatives that mimic what they are used to – whether a burger, chicken strips or sausages. And this means coming as close as possible to expectations regarding appearance, taste, mouthfeel, juiciness, and flavor. To ensure that taste and juiciness of meat replacement products mimic the meat structure repeatedly, know-how about food ingredients, process and process control is key. The way in which the basic ingredients like water, fat and different dry matters are bound in the preparation part is crucial to the success of the further processing part.
GEA finds a unique combination of ingredients, technology, and process solution
In the meat-free segment, customers' needs are different compared to the demands of the original meat processing business, explains Marcel Janssen, vice president - Product Management and Sales at GEA. "This has to do with a large number of different ingredients for meat-free products. It is no longer sufficient just to provide the right technology. In-depth expertise and experience with all types of food and raw materials that go into this production is needed. GEA has this expertise and offers food producers the possibility to work hand in hand at our different technology centers, either in person or remotely, to determine the optimal combination of ingredients, equipment and line set-up. Furthermore, in our technology centers we can transition from a laboratory environment to industrial production."
Test before investing
This important testing option eliminates much of the risk producers would otherwise face when scaling up their production. As a result, they get their product to market more quickly and avoid costly changes later. And thanks to a robust global supply chain, GEA ensures businesses can scale up to reliable and robust production – quickly and effectively regardless of size.
Janssen concludes, "It's vital for processors not just to extend their production facilities for the additional meat-free product in their product range but also to find a solution that provides maximum flexibility, control and the best possible yield to ensure profit margins are maintained or even improved."
Participate in the vegetarian market
For more than 25 years, GEA has been a trustworthy technology partner for preparing and further processing meat-alternative and vegetable-based products. Experts from the company participate at international conferences and summits, like the upcoming Bridge2Food Research Conference concerning Plant-Based Foods & Proteins, which will take place virtually October 19 – 20. GEA also regularly shares their deep insights by organizing well-booked webinars, like "Are you ready for the meat alternative revolution?" which are subsequently available online to customers and interested parties on GEA's website.