Meet “Meaty Corn” – A New Plant-Based Protein That Looks and Tastes Like Beef

According to The Economist, switching from animal to plant-based protein could boost America’s food supply by a third. Why? Because growing plants needs less land per calorie than animal rearing, with 80% of agricultural land used for raising livestock, producing only 18% of the globe’s calories. In addition, the Weizmann Institute suggests that creating a gram of protein by feeding an egg-laying hen has an opportunity cost of 96% compared to 40% to produce the same from plants1.
Hence, with plant-based eating looking beneficial for the planet and its people, it’s no surprise that veganism, vegetarianism, flexitarianism, and reducatarianism are growing. According to the IMARC Group, recent research suggests that the US vegan food market is forecast to increase by a 12.3% CAGR into 20282.
While increasing health, animal welfare, and environmental concerns drive this growth, plant-based consumers seek more than salads. They want food options as flavorsome, innovative, and convenient as regular food choices.
In response, scientists have developed advanced plant-based proteins closely mimicking the texture and taste of animal-based products and bioidentical lab-grown meats. These products include dairy alternatives, cheese, snacks, and desserts. Meat analogs include texturized vegetable protein, tofu, seitan (wheat-based), and Quorn (fungal-based). Among the most recent exciting new market entrants is “Meaty Corn.”
What Is “Meaty Corn”?
“Meaty Corn” is a proprietary “manufactory” corn bred to express high levels (up to 10mg) of “meaty” bovine myoglobin, a mammal-based iron and oxygen-binding protein. The protein can be used in various alternative protein applications, and the plants grown sustainably, commercially, and at scale, offering a hemoglobin flavor and aroma experience.
Creating “Meaty Corn” starts with “plant transformation,” where the myoglobin is introduced into the seed genetically. As a result, the corn’s nutritional profile compares well against animal-based and other protein sources3.
Additionally, the process leverages existing agricultural and processing infrastructure, producing its “Meaty Corn” at volume for less. According to the creator, IngredientWerks, “Meaty Corn” offers the same proteins as precision fermentation at around half the expense and with a smaller carbon footprint than conventional protein cultivation4.
The innovation helps increase America’s food supply sustainably while reducing the burden on animals. So, how can manufacturers use this corn-grown myoglobin?
Using Corn-Grown Myoglobin in Meat Analogs
After extraction from the corn, the myoglobin passes through an extruder barrel, along with liquids. After heating, the extrude forms a fibrous, layered structure, the basis for a textured meat-like mouthfeel.
Manufacturers can then add fat or other animal-derived proteins between “corn” layers, helping to make the alt-meat products fattier, moister, and tastier. Some producers include additional flavor and aroma ingredients to mimic the final look, taste, odor, and format outcomes, such as “steak,” “beef sausages,” “burgers,” or pies.
This type of meat substitute is ideal for addressing the environmental, food supply, production cost, animal welfare, and taste demands of those wishing to reduce their meat consumption and, perhaps in time, a broader, more general consumer segment. However, for animal product abstainers such as vegans, bovine myoglobin-derived protein in meat substitutes may pose a dilemma.
Pair Authentic Meaty Texture With Natural Flavor and Aroma Enhancing Molecules
Manufacturers can rely on 100% natural, pure taste and odor molecules from Advanced Biotech when boosting or tailoring the aroma and flavor of myoglobin or other alternative proteins. With sustainably produced, EU-certified ingredients, including plant-based molecules, brands can cater to food security, environmental, animal welfare, and vegan needs. Contact us today to order your flavor and aroma-accentuating pyrazines, thiazoles, sulfurs and heterocyclics, natural extracts, and more.