Think of the changing face of food, and plant proteins will likely be first in your mind. And as scientific advances allow it, lab cultured meat will take a place on the environmentally sustainable food throne as well. What do both of these meat alternatives have in common? A focus on protein, above all else.
But did you know that most of the flavor of the meats we know and love comes not from their proteins, but from their fats? And that fats have received little to no attention in the development of delicious, sustainable meat substitutes? That’s the niche that Nourish Ingredients is setting out to fill, with a focus on specialty fats that can transform bland proteins into flavor-packed equivalents of our favorite foods. Curious? Let’s learn more about this up and coming company together.
What Is Nourish Ingredients?
Nourish Ingredients is a startup company whose sole goal is to make plant-based meat alternatives taste better. Using a secretive fermentation process, they aim to create delectable oils and fats that can transform the flavor and mouthfeel of plant proteins. If you’ve ever been disappointed by the shallow flavor of a tofu dog, dismayed by a bland plant burger, or generally underwhelmed by a meat substitute, Nourish Ingredients wants to talk to you. They’re not looking for an alternative to plant-based meats — they’re looking to upgrade them.
How Does Nourish Ingredients Work?
A huge part of the taste and mouthfeel of foods — and animal products in particular — comes from fat. The creaminess of whole milk, the rich and meaty flavor of a spaghetti bolognese, and the textured deliciousness of cheddar cheese all have fat to thank for their flavor. But in most plant-based substitutes for animal products, this wonderful flavor and texture is missing. Nourish Ingredients offers a solution, via a series of complex fermentation processes.
By developing their own proprietary yeast strains, Nourish Ingredients is able to mimic the molecular structure of a wide variety of animal fats. It starts simply with sugar and yeast, yielding a bubbling and frothing mixture with strong aromatics. This yeast culture is introduced to a base of neutral fats and oils, where it goes to work on changing the fat’s aromatic properties. A few days or weeks later, depending on the fermentation, and voila! Fats that have been partially “digested” by the yeast, with flavors, aromas, and textures that are nearly identical to their animal counterparts.
Of course, all of that wouldn’t be particularly useful if it couldn’t be provided at scale. According to Nourish Ingredients, though, their entire process can be replicated at much larger scales using existing technologies — something that many other meat alternative companies can’t claim. And since Nourish Ingredients’ specialty fats are similarly priced with other specialty food products, it’s a genuine opportunity to power up our plant-based proteins.
Nourish Ingredients’ Product Line
Unfortunately for run of the mill shoppers, we won’t be seeing Nourish Ingredients on our store shelves anytime soon. The company’s focus is on providing alternative fats to producers of animal product substitutes, not everyday consumers.
Even so, the applications of their fermentation process are fascinating. Alternative fats could restore the creaminess to plant-based milks, create fish substitutes that taste like they’ve been pulled fresh from the ocean, and fix the taste and texture of vegan cheeses. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the company’s work, and eagerly await the products that come about as a result of their innovative technology.
How Do Nourish Ingredients’ Products Taste?
Because of their newness to the alternative meat world — they’ve only been in business since the start of 2021 — there’s not much information on the taste of Nourish Ingredients’ products yet. Here’s a statement from Nourish Ingredients on the possibilities that their alternative fats make possible:
Our specialty fats and oils make plant-based alternative proteins taste just as good as the original, but animal-free. We can tailor flavour and mouthfeel to precisely reproduce the taste and texture of pork, beef, chicken, fish, milk, cheese and beyond.
And another, more tantalizing peek into their mission:
We’re talking about the lavish creaminess of a glossy dollop of cream, sitting on top of a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth apple pie. Or a juicy burger, with that perfect, crispy, salty grilled surface. A single slice of gooey, bitey cheese hanging over the sides.
Where to Buy Nourish Ingredients
To have a taste of Nourish Ingredients right now, you’ll have to get in touch with the company directly, as they’re not available for purchase online or through grocery stores at this time. Drop them a line via their contact form if you’re curious for a taste!