New Plant-Based Options to Replace Meat and Dairy

Greg Howard
1st April, 2024

New Plant-Based Options to Replace Meat and Dairy

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed new plant-based foods called NAPS
  • NAPS are designed to be nutritious, mimicking a variety of animal products in taste and texture
  • These foods aim to appeal to a wider audience, including those concerned with health and sustainability
In recent years, a growing number of consumers have been shifting their diets away from animal products towards more plant-based options. This change is driven by concerns about the environmental impact of livestock production, personal health considerations, and animal welfare issues. However, despite the availability of processed plant-based foods, like meat and dairy analogs or traditional substitutes such as tofu and seitan, there's a recognition that these options may not appeal to everyone. To address this gap, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have introduced a promising new category of plant-based foods known as novel animal product substitutes (NAPS)[1]. NAPS aim to provide a more nutritionally beneficial and versatile alternative to both current animal product analogs and traditional substitutes. These new plant-based innovations are designed to be rich in essential nutrients, such as proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Conversely, they are formulated to contain lower levels of less desirable nutrients like salt, sugar, and saturated fat. The versatility of NAPS is evident in their ability to mimic a wide array of appearances, textures, mouthfeels, and flavors. They could appear in various colors, shapes, and consistencies, and offer a spectrum of flavors, making them suitable for inclusion in numerous traditional dishes where animal products would typically be found. The science behind NAPS is complex, involving careful formulation to achieve the desired nutritional profile and sensory characteristics. The research discusses the various factors that influence the appearance, texture, flavor, and nutritional content of these foods. It also outlines the methods used for formulating, producing, and characterizing NAPS. This innovative approach to plant-based food design is critical as it addresses some of the limitations of existing meat substitutes, which can be unappealing to certain consumers due to taste, texture, or nutritional content. The development of NAPS is informed by previous studies that emphasize the importance of sensory appeal and health in food choices for different demographic groups, including older adults[2]. As the population ages, it becomes increasingly important to create food products that not only meet nutritional needs but also satisfy the sensory preferences of older consumers. This is particularly relevant considering that older adults may prioritize sensory appeal and health when making food choices. Furthermore, the attitude and intention toward reducing meat consumption have been shown to be influenced by factors such as social norms, perceived benefits and barriers, and environmental concerns[3]. NAPS could potentially address these factors by offering a product that aligns with these motivations, including health benefits and environmental sustainability. Additionally, plant-based diets have been recognized for their role in preventing and managing chronic diseases, and for being environmentally sustainable[4]. NAPS could contribute to this by providing a safe and effective dietary option for people at all stages of life, ensuring adequate intake of essential nutrients through carefully designed food products. The introduction of NAPS represents an innovative step in the evolution of plant-based foods, with the potential to cater to a broader consumer base by overcoming the limitations of current options. It's a development that not only aligns with the growing environmental and health consciousness but also offers practical solutions to the challenges of dietary change. The researchers stress the need for further studies on NAPS, particularly in terms of sensory and consumer aspects, to ensure that these new products meet consumer expectations and preferences, thereby supporting the transition to more sustainable and healthful diets.

NutritionSustainabilityPlant Science


Main Study

1) Novel animal product substitutes: A new category of plant-based alternatives to meat, seafood, egg, and dairy products.

Published 29th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Older adults' acceptance of ready-to-eat meals in relation to food choice and sensory ability.

3) Drivers and barriers toward reducing meat consumption.

4) The Safe and Effective Use of Plant-Based Diets with Guidelines for Health Professionals.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙