Yeast extract is a key ingredient for meat analogues

Yeast extract is a key ingredient for meat analogues

The meat substitute market was estimated at 13.3 billion USD in 2018 and projected to grow with a 7.9% CAGR between 2019 and 2024(1). Cultured meat and plant-based meat analogues will be the main sources of proteins by 2040(2). Consumers of meat alternatives are aware of the impact of their food consumption on their health and on the planet. It is therefore essential that food companies support this approach by developing alternatives that consider the sustainability of sourcing and the agricultural sectors. Due to its naturalness, yeast extract fits perfectly with this sustainability consideration. Indeed, it is a unique vegan ingredient that brings meaty notes.

Why are meat substitutes on the rise?

A meat analogue is a food that is close to the aesthetic qualities or organoleptic characteristics of some types of meat.
All product categories are now concerned by the introduction of substitutes in their recipes. Consumers, driven by environmental convictions, respect for animal welfare and their health, are increasingly interested in these foods. The most commonly used sources of protein are soy proteins, followed by grains, peas, nuts, legumes, mushrooms and even insects.

Vegetarians and vegans are no longer the only ones who consume these alternatives. Many consumers become flexitarians. They want to reduce their meat consumption or rebalance protein sources (animal-vegetable) to prevent certain diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.
To respond to this growing trend, meat brands are developing more and more plant-based products. This includes brands such as Herta (Nestlé) and Fleury Michon in Europe, Raised & Rooted® (Tyson food) and Happy Little Plants™ (Hormel) in the USA and Jinzi Ham in China.

The challenges of meat substitutes

Imitate the taste, texture and smell of meat
Consumers expect products that are as close as possible to meat in terms of taste, texture and smell. They want to keep the same sensations as with meat. Manufacturers must therefore find innovative organoleptic solutions.

Designing natural and quality products
Consumers are increasingly looking for quality, natural ingredients and authenticity. However, meat substitutes are seen as highly processed products. A clean label with an ingredient list as short as possible and additive-free is required.

Communication with consumers
In Europe, the regulations prohibit the use of the term “steak“(5) to refer to meat substitutes. Food makers must therefore find new ways to inform consumers about the function of their product. Appearance and name of the product are therefore crucial in meat substitutes.

Why is yeast extract ideal in meat substitutes?

A natural5 ingredient
Yeast extract comes from fresh yeast; it is only yeast without its cell wall. During the manufacturing process, no chemical molecules are added. Yeast extract is therefore a natural origin ingredient and fits perfectly into the concept of the clean label.

A wide range of flavors
There is a wide range of yeast extracts, each with its own characteristics, to participate in the building of subtle aromas. The choice of yeast extracts and their intensity depend on the uses. Some will develop the taste of the food while others will add an intense umami flavor or specific meat notes. In vegan meatballs for example, they provide umami and brown grilled notes. Yeast extracts can thus imitate the taste of red or white meat and build smoked, roasted or grilled notes. They also bring flavors like poultry for vegan recipes.

The power to mask off-notes
In order to guarantee a product with a taste and texture as close as possible to meat, manufacturers often use vegetable proteins. These substitute ingredients can bring undesirable notes that must be masked. Yeast extract is neutral in taste and perfectly adapted to this use.

A 100% animal-free ingredient
Yeast extract is a non-animal ingredient. It is therefore suitable for vegetarian and vegan products. In addition, some references are available in organic version.

A unique nutritional composition
Yeast extract composition is based on yeast composition: it contains proteins, free amino acid, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.

Biospringer yeast extract is adapted to this growing market

Our yeast extract is therefore perfectly adapted to this growing market and will continue to support the development of food companies in the coming years.

Biospringer is a specialist of yeast extract. It is recognized worldwide as a historical key player and global producer. Its expertise through teams of technologists, flavorists and expert tasting panels, ensures total safety and high quality of all the products manufactured and sold in the world. In addition, its global network of Culinary centers is dedicated to finding technical solutions for its customers in order to bring good taste to their recipes in line with the current natural, vegan, and clean label food trends.


1 Markets and Markets, Meat Substitutes Market, 2019
2 Les Echos, d’après A.T. Kearney, L’essor inexorable des alternatives à la viande, 2019
3 Daniel Karsevar d’après Mintel, Plant-Based Product & Ingredient (Natural Product Expo West), 2019
4 Sawe, Benjamin Elisha, Countries with The Highest Rates Of Vegetarianism WorldAtlas, Sept. 20, 2019
5 ISO/TS 19657, 2017: Definitions and technical criteria for food ingredients to be considered as natural

To know more about this food ingredient’s potential in meat substitutes,

BIOSPRINGER is a trademark and it does not imply systematically that the product is organic according to EU Regulation 2018/ 848, the status of each product supplied should be checked on the technical documentation.