Meat substitution in burgers: nutritional scoring, sensorial testing, and Life Cycle Assessment

Elsevier, Future Foods, Volume 4, December 2021
Smetana S., Profeta A., Voigt R., Kircher C., Heinz V.

Substitution of beef with alternative proteins is one practical trend taken by industry and consumers to reduce the negative impact of convenience products on the environment. Numerous products based on plant, insect and fungi proteins compete to replace beef burgers in an environmentally friendly and healthy way. At the same time, there is a lack of studies which assess different options from environmental impact perspective but also with consideration of production scales, recipes, nutritional values, and sensory properties. Therefore, the current study aimed to perform a holistic assessment (Life Cycle Assessment, sensory properties, and nutritional profile) of beef burgers in comparison to selected, alternative burgers, available on the market in Germany. The results indicated that alternative burgers based on plant, insect and mycoprotein biomass would be more environmentally friendly than beef burgers, but only a couple of them (insect-based and soy-based) have satisfying sensory or nutritional properties. Pea-based and mycoprotein-based burgers were perceived as average burgers from an environmental and sensorial perspective. The study demonstrated a sustainability differentiation system of meat analogs in convenience products using the multicriteria framework with inclusion of nutrient scoring, sensorial testing and Life Cycle Assessment.