Appearance Matters More Than Taste for Meat Substitutes

slow_cooker_moscow_chickenResearchers from the Netherlands have determined that much of what we eat has to do with appearance over quality, lending a large blow to current substitute meat efforts.

A total of 93 participants took part in a recent study in Wageningen area of the Netherlands, an area where typical use of substitute meat is non existant. The study removed vegetarians and those with allergies from the study.

For 10 days over a two week period, participants took 2 tests. These tests focused on the more common substitutes.  Quorn pieces and minc (mycoprotein and egg white), tofu trips (soy bean curd and olive oil), Tivall stir fry pieces (soy, egg and pea proteins, vegetable oil), Goodbite chicken style (soy, egg and wheat proteins) and Vivera vega stir fry pieces (soy protein and olive oil).

The first test consisted of finding participants would accept meat substitutes in a variety of factors. Meat substitutes from the same brand were altered in shape only, say peices vs minced and they were served in 4 different meals. Participants were then asked a variety of questions based on the meal, including how willing before eating, and after, they were to try to fix the meal themselves.

Researches found that the appropriateness of a substitute, to the meal made a very large difference to the rating of the meal itself. Participants were more eager to score the meal higher, if the meatballs looked like meatballs, or the soup had bits of meat that looked natural. The researchers reported “Meat substitutes that were accepted by non vegetarian consumers found the shape and appearance was very important. The ingredients, flavour and texture of the meat substitutes idd not seem to be crucial for the acceptance of the meals with meat substitutes”


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