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Yeast Extract - the key source of Xianness/umami taste in plant-based meat


Consumers' growing awareness of embracing a healthy lifestyle and supporting a sustainable future spurs the rapid growth of plant-based food markets. However, how to restore the complete taste and nutrition profile of meat using plants remains a challenge for the food manufacturers. Featuring a pleasant roasted and meaty aroma, Yeast extract(YE) became an optimal choice to make meatless food taste meaty.


Background on the Plant-based Meat Market

According to New SPINS retail sales data released in July 2019, the grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products have grown 31% in the past two years to reach $4. 5 billion[1].


Data from GFI: Plant-based market dollar sales. 104 weeks ending 2019-Apr-21.


Data from GFI: Dollar sales change for plant-based and animal-based products by category. 52 weeks ending 2019-Apr-21.

Through key categories, dollar sales of conventional animal foods are declining or growing modestly, while dollar sales of plant-based foods are growing significantly. In 2018, the market size of the Chinese domestic plant-based meat industry was about 6. 1 billion yuan (910 million USD), reflecting a year-on-year increase of 14. 2 percent. By comparison, the US market size stood at 684 million USD and exhibited an annual increase of 23 percent. The global plant-based meat market is projected to reach between $100 billion and $370 billion by 2035[2].

The Mechanism of Countering Off-notes

Plant-based meat is mainly based on alternative veggie protein concentrates, isolates, flours. The most popular types for consumers are soy, followed by pea and several niche types, such as chickpea, rapeseed, and lupin, among others[3].


However, the off-taste these raw materials bring is an obvious disadvantage and is a daily challenge for many food industries. Let's take soybean flavor for instance, the off-flavor that soybean protein products give is fairly consistent: beany, bitter, nutty, and toasted[4]. Early studies found that ethanal, hexanal, pentanol, hexanol, and heptanol are found throughout soybean tissues[5].

The conventional methods to counter these off-notes of alternative proteins include: Evaporating the off-flavors compounds by water heating or neutralizing off-flavors by directly adding salt, sugar, vinegar, liquor, alcoholic beverages, and spices. However, these traditional solutions do not correlate with consumer demand for healthy, nutritious and functional products and often do not achieve the desired taste results.

Yeast Extract Provides Natural Solutions to Achieve Perfect Taste


Therefore, food manufacturers are craving for a natural flavor ingredient that is better-for-you, and healthy for animal welfare, and the planet. As a natural flavor ingredient featuring versatile characteristics, yeast extract became a beloved partner for food industry and customers. Yeast extract is autolyzed from food-grade baker's yeast cells of the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a natural flavor-enhancing ingredient containing a large amount of flavor amino acids, polypeptides, proteins, and flavor nucleotides. A small amount of yeast extract can create substantial intensified Xian/umami taste. The yeast extract solutions can be declared as natural flavor enhancer, as well as being natural origin, MSG replacing, clean labeling, non-GMO, allergen-free, and Kosher and Halal certified. It helps vegetarian/vegan foods achieve perfect taste profile from two aspects:

1. Enhance Xianness/umami notes, Hou-feel/mouthfulness, and meaty notes

Thanks to the great source of nucleotides, amino acids, flavor peptides, B vitamins, etc, the Xian/umami Yeast Extract and Flavor YE promote robust meaty notes, balance the overall taste profile, and increase Xianness/umami, juiciness, and Hou-feel/mouthfulness to the end products.

2. Cover up off-notes from alternative proteins

The Xianness/umami YE and Hou-feel/mouthfulness YE are rich in flavor peptides such as Gly-Leu, Pro-Glu, Val-Glu, etc. All these peptides of yeast extract are dedicated to mask the unpleasant off-notes of alternative proteins and to balance the overall taste profile. This is the physical mechanism using yeast extract to suppress, and mask off-notes .

During the cooking and heating process, the rich content of nucleotides, amino acids, flavor peptides, and small-molecule proteins in yeast extract will break down into nitrogen-rich and sulfur-rich compounds (meaty flavors) through Maillard reaction. It will further neutralize off-tastes and bring specific flavors to the end products. This biochemical reaction solution neutralizing off-notes is more effective and thoroughly than other solutions.

Yeast extract in plant-based meat-01-03.jpg

Bottom Line

Angel's application experts are dedicated to bridge the differences between plant-based products and animal-based products. With the aid of yeast extract products, Angel YE team will assist you to find the appropriate combination of ingredients that guarantee both taste and nutrition in plant-based foods and beverages.

With ongoing industry trends towards meat alternative and plant-based meat, the market size for yeast extract is growing at 4. 5% CAGR and expected to exhibit 2120 million USD by 2025[6].

As one of the largest yeast extract manufacturers in the global market. Angel YE team will consistently supply highest-quality yeast extracts to global customers while providing holistic and tailor-made application solutions to meet your plant-based NPD needs.


1. GFI

2. J.P. Morgan, A.T. Kearney, May 2019

3. McKinsey & Company

4. Soybean protein flavor components: a review, J. C. Cowan, J. J. Rackis, W. J. Wolf

5. Fujimaki, M., S. Arai, N. Kirigaya and Y. Sakurai, Agr. BioI. Chern. 29:855(1965)

6. America News Hour

About Angel Yeast Extract-Savoury:

Angel YE (yeast extract) made from edible yeast, by degradation the protein and nucleic acid in the yeast cells into nutritional seasonings with the application of modern biotechnology, has the advantages of increasing the fresh flavor, reducing salt, balancing the odor, strong tolerance and food properties, which promotes the global healthy operation of salt reduction and "clean label ".

About Angel:
Angel Yeast Company is a high-tech listed company specializing in yeast and biotech. Product business covers Yeast and Baking, Yeast Extract-Savoury, Nutrition & Health and Biotechnology fields. It is one of the world's leading companies in the yeast industry. Angel has 12 holding subsidiaries and provides products and services for more than 150 countries and regions.

Press Contact:
Address: 168 Chengdong Avenue, Yichang, Hubei 443003, P. R.China

Tel: +86-717-6369520, 6369558

Fax: +86-717-6370680

Email: aie@angelyeast.com

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