Health, ecological and ethical aspects have led to a change in consumers’ dietary habits to-wards a reduction of meat consumption. Nevertheless, a vast majority of consumers does not want to dispense with the sensory attributes of meat products from animal origin. To solve this conflict, products based on plant proteins such as wheat protein have been devel-oped to resemble the product properties of muscle meat. A prerequisite of such meat ana-log products is their fibrous, anisotropic structure which can be achieved by altering the pro-teins native structure via high moisture extrusion processing. Furthermore, the sensory properties in terms of mouth feel, but also texture, aroma and appearance can be improved by the addition of oil. Due to the complex nature of this multivariate process, however, the influence of oil on the final product properties, their underlying structuring mechanisms as well as their relation to process parameters is not jet understood. Consequently, these chal-lenges pose limitations on tailoring the final product characteristics of meat analogs made from wheat proteins to match consumers’ expectations. Thus, the overall goal of this re-search project is to gain a better understanding on the influence of oil on the structuring mechanisms of meat analog products and their influence on final product properties.
To achieve this goal, the influence of oil on extrusion process conditions, material properties and resulting product properties will be characterized. Due to the complex relationship be-tween multivariate system parameters and material properties, a direct relation of changes in final product properties to certain process conditions during the extrusion process is not possible. For this purpose, the influence of oil will be studied under well-defined thermome-chanical treatment by using a ‘Closed Cavity Rheometer’. The information gained from these investigations will be used to develop solution strategies to design extrusion processes for the production of meat analog products with improved product properties.
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