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Taste enhancement of plant-based meat analogues using healthy fats

Fat is an important carrier of aroma compounds and can thus improve the flavor profile of foods. In this project, RISE, together with AAK AB, NordArom AB and Orkla Foods Sverige, will study the importance of fat for taste and acceptance of plant-based foods that strive to mimic meat, so-called meat analogs.


By measuring sensory, instrumental (e.g. microstructure and texture) and behavioral aspects of meat analogs (prototypes) with varying amounts and types of fat, the project will contribute to increased understanding of how fat can influence acceptance and taste experiences of meat analogs in a positive direction, which is an important step in the development of sustainable and tasty plant-based protein products that can replace meat.


The vegetable fats used in many meat analogues today are largely unsaturated fats, compared to the fats in land-based animals. Unsaturated fats generally have health benefits over saturated fats, but also have different sensory properties than saturated fats, as they are usually not solid in warm foods. It is well known that fat can affect the sensory experience of meat. However, less is known about how fat content and fat quality affect the acceptance and sensory experience of meat analogues.

A common method of making liquid vegetable fats more solid is so-called hydrogenation. When hydrogenated, however, the healthy properties of the originally unsaturated vegetable fatty acids disappear, because they are then converted into saturated fatty acids by the addition of hydrogen. An interesting alternative to hydration, to create vegetable fats that are more solid at room temperature, are so-called oleogels. With oleogels, you can create gel-like fats, while maintaining the degree of unsaturation of the vegetable fats.

In the manufacture of certain plant-based meat analogues, the protein undergoes a so-called texturing, for example through extrusion, with the aim of creating a meat-like structure of the plant-based proteins. Usually, the fat in meat analogues is added after this process, i.e. after the protein structure has been formed. This can cause the fat in the final product to leak out during storage and cooking. Possibly this problem can be avoided if the fat is added before texturing, thus becoming more integrated into the product.

Consumers may have different expectations of how a food should behave during cooking, for example how well it retains its color and shape and how it behaves when additional ingredients or flavorings are added. Expectations may affect the overall acceptance of meat analogues. It is therefore relevant to study more closely consumers' experiences of cooking meat analogues, and to understand how these experiences can be improved from a product design perspective.


In this project we will:

  • Study how different types and levels of vegetable fats affect the sensory profile and acceptability of commercially available plant-based meat analogues.
  • Develop prototypes of meat analogues using different fat sources, including oleogels, where the fat is added before and after texturing.
  • Evaluate the produced prototypes sensory using a trained panel.
  • Measure and study the prototypes' physiochemical properties (e.g. microstructure and texture) instrumentally, which helps to explain the sensory experience and facilitate future product development.
  • Qualitatively evaluate of how well the prototypes work and meet consumer expectations when cooking.



Project name

Taste enhancement of PBMA:s with fat



RISE role in project


Project start


3 år

Total budget

6 000 000 SEK


NordArom AB, AAK AB, Orkla Food Sweden



Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

3. Good health and well-being
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
Johanna E Andersson

Contact person

Johanna E Andersson


+46 70 319 67 37

Read more about Johanna E

Contact Johanna E
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