Hybrid foods: sustainable, healthy and tasty
Hybrid foods present an exciting opportunity for the industry to develop foods that help consumers make informed decisions without having to make trade-offs.
There is no escaping the evidence that our current appetite for meat is unsustainable; a major report in the Lancet concluded Europeans and North Americans need to cut meat consumption by as much as 80% for their diets to be both climate friendly and healthy. At the same time, studies have shown that a purely vegan diet cannot be implemented globally. But another approach is emerging. Hybrid foods, combining animal and plant-based ingredients, offer a logical step towards more sustainable and more health-conscious food production. This is a nascent development, but the fact that market research analysts have clocked it suggests it’s only going to get bigger.
Global data from Innova Market Insights shows that the number of new meat hybrid launches grew by 8% (CAGR) between 2015 and 2020, and that the pace of innovation moved up a gear in 2020. The UK leads the world in this trend, accounting for 19.5% of total new meat hybrid launches tracked in the last five years, which corresponds to a staggering 54% CAGR.
On the face of it, the concept of hybrid meat products is straightforward enough to grasp foods that are part-meat, part-plant-based, offering potentially healthier and without doubt more sustainable alternatives to 100% meat products. However, when you delve deeper, it becomes apparent that the drivers behind the trend and the demands that need to be met when formulating these products are complex.
Celebrity chef collaboration
Brenntag’s development centre in Poland has been a hotbed of innovation for hybrid foods in recent years. The team even collaborated with Polish TV chef Karol Okrasa on some of its product development, which has included 50/50 burgers with a texturant produced from corn and pea protein. In addition, Cezary Kowalski, Business Manager Savoury, CEE, says they have been experimenting with new ‘local’ plant protein sources such as rapeseed, sunflower and canola. “We can create recipes for a large variety of hybrid meat products – be it burgers, sausages or also fish, like tuna. Of course, there are certain limitations to the types of meat products that can be given the hybrid treatment, but we are pushing back the limits every day and our application experts have even succeeded in creating a hybrid ham style charcuterie product”, explains Cezary Kowalski.
Get in touch
If you want to know more about our hybrid food concepts or need support in the development of a hybrid food product, please reach out and we'll be in touch.