A team of Spanish scientists has developed a “vegetable meat” made from carob and they have achieved a product that it will be commercialized in the next few weeks and that it is healthy, rich in dietary fiber, without additives or allergens and whose production is more sustainable than that of meat.
The new product has been created by the researchers Marta Miguel, from the Institute for Food Science Research (a joint center of the Higher Council for Scientific Research and the Autonomous University of Madrid) and Marta Garcés, from the Francisco de Vitoria University.
With an appearance and texture very similar to meat, the new product is nevertheless healthier, low in natural fat and cholesterol free, according to the researchers, who today presented this food, called “Leggie”, at a press conference at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid.
The ingredient is protected by an industrial secret and the product will be marketed under license by the food company MRM, and according to the researchers who have developed it, it is aimed not only at vegan or vegetarian consumers, but also at people who want to reduce by different reasons meat intake.
The “leggie” is made with a base of cereal and legumes, among which the carob predominates, a typical Mediterranean product whose production has a very low water and carbon footprint.
The researcher Marta Miguel explained that there are more and more alternatives to meat from plant sources on the market, but she has observed that they tend to be “extremely processed products that include a large number of ingredients and additives of questionable nutritional quality.
Its advantages also include the high content of dietary fiber, whose consumption is deficient in Spain and in other developed countries.
The fiber is a dietary factor that helps prevent various chronic diseases and its main benefits are an increase in the feeling of satiety, a delay in the absorption of glucose and cholesterol or an increase in intestinal motility associated with an improvement in constipation.
The new one “meat“It will be marketed packaged using” high hydrostatic pressure “technology to avoid the use of preservatives, according to the researchers, who have highlighted in addition to the nutritional properties, its” sensoriality “, its easy adaptation to numerous recipes and dishes and the ease of use.
Marta Garcés has highlighted the versatility of the product, since it can be used in numerous culinary preparations, among which she has mentioned pizzas, salads, filling of empanadas, empanadillas, lasagna, hamburgers or meatballs.
During the press conference, both the researchers and those responsible for the CSIC They have coincided in pointing out the launch of this product as a success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the food industry from the start-up of a technology-based company from the CSIC and the Francisco de Vitoria University.
In addition, several of the industrial property figures provided for in the legislation (patent, business secret or trademark registration) have been used and finally an agreement has been reached with a specialized company in the sector for its commercialization in large stores and supermarkets both at national and international level.