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Characterization of plant-based alternative products with consideration of qualitative and nutritional aspects

dc.contributor.advisorPawelzik, Elke Prof. Dr.
dc.contributor.authorPointke, Marcel
dc.titleCharacterization of plant-based alternative products with consideration of qualitative and nutritional aspectsde
dc.contributor.refereePawelzik, Elke Prof. Dr.
dc.description.abstractengOne of the greatest challenges of the 21st century is to meet the food needs of a growing world population without exceeding the planetary boundaries. The consumption and production of food products of animal-based origin are an essential part of this puzzle, as they provide important and high-quality nutrients on the one hand and are one of the Big Five drivers of climate change on the other. Meat consumption in developed countries such as Germany is higher than recommended, and the increased intake of processed meat products, in particular, is associated with negative health impacts in these countries. In recent years, a new generation of plant-based alternative products has entered the market, which are designed to imitate animal-based products in terms of sensory and nutritional composition. These products are primarily aimed at consumers who want to reduce the amount of animal-based foods they consume in their daily lives. The marketing of these products particularly serves the niche market of flexitarians. The dissertation presented uses the example of plant-based meat, cheese, and milk alternatives to show how a change to a sustainable diet is possible. The environmental impact and resource consumption of plant-based products are lower, and the nutritional content and sensory qualities of these products are the focus of this study. The aim was to determine the characterization of the sensory quality of these plant-based alternative products. In addition, the question of nutritionally relevant ingredients in the commercially available products was to be investigated. At first, an online market analysis of the nutritional composition of plant-based meat and cheese products and animal-based products was conducted. The aim of this study was to fill the research gap regarding the comparison of nutrient composition, especially micronutrients, of processed plant-based meat and cheese products compared to the animal-based products they resemble. The results show that plant-based meat products demonstrate better Nutri-Score values than the animal-based comparators, while the cheese alternatives generally score lower than the respective dairy products. Meat alternative products provide high-quality plant protein, and the contents are in some cases comparable to meat products. In six of twelve meat product groups, plant-based products have significantly higher salt contents than meat products. The salt content in the five cheese product groups is quite high in both plant-based and animal-based products. The results of the micronutrient assessment show that the relationship to the reference values for recommended daily intake is reasonable. In this way, deficiencies and surpluses of vitamins and minerals could be made clear. The daily requirement of copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc can be better covered by the plant-based products analyzed here than animal-based products, which is shown by the reference values. On the other hand, the vitamin requirements of B1, B3, B12, A, and D are not sufficiently covered by plant-based products. The example of cheese alternatives shows that these can cover the requirement just as well if vitamins and minerals are added to the products. In particular, the high sodium content, the high degree of processing, and a large number of ingredients and additives used in the production of these foods are increasingly criticized. Therefore, these modern plant-based alternative products cannot be considered per se as a "healthy" alternative to animal-based products. However, the products have to be evaluated individually due to the considerable heterogeneity. In the second step, plant-based milk alternatives (based on almond, oat, and soy) were also analyzed for micronutrients and compared with cow's milk, and their sensory quality was evaluated. Cow's milk is a good source of vitamins B2 and B12 as well as of zinc and especially calcium. It is also clear that if plant-based products are fortified with these micronutrients, they can have the same micronutrient content as cow's milk. Based on descriptive analysis by a trained sensory panel, five products of each of the three different raw material bases could be evaluated. The data from the instrumental sensory analysis showed positive correlations with the panel results. Thus, these methods could also be used to analyze and evaluate plant-based alternative products. The nutritional profiles of the individual products differ, sometimes widely, within the product group with the same raw material source and in comparison to cow's milk. Plant-based products are naturally lower in protein, minerals, and vitamins than cow's milk. As a result, these modern plant-based beverages are not nutritionally comparable or equivalent to cow's milk. Because of the wide range of products on the market, consumers should consider nutritional values and ingredients when selecting a product. Based on the results from the first and second studies, a sensory consumer test combined with a questionnaire on plant-based alternative products was conducted. 159 participants divided according to their nutrition style were served three products in two tasting rounds. Interestingly, the vegans did not perceive the attributes of bitter, sour, and astringent for the oat drink. This could be related to higher consumption of vegetables and fruits and their products. Altogether the acceptance of the products was evaluated quite positively. Although omnivores always evaluated the products lower than vegans, the oat drink achieved the best overall liking. The main motivations for consuming plant-based alternatives for all three products were animal welfare and the environment. A larger gap was revealed with the knowledge questions, for example, concerning health aspects. As these products are still relatively new on the market, it is currently difficult for consumers to obtain essential information from independent sources. In summary, plant-based alternative products are suitable for reducing the consumption of animal-based products and can therefore be used by consumers as a support tool. Due to the variety of products in the different product categories and the heterogeneity, the products have to be evaluated individually according to their nutritional and sensory qualities. Therefore, the need for information on sustainable plant-based alternative products is high so that consumers are familiar with and well informed about the different
dc.contributor.coRefereeHahn, Andreas Prof. Dr.
dc.contributor.thirdRefereeRisius, Antje Jun.-Prof. Dr.
dc.subject.engplant-based alternative productsde
dc.subject.engnutritional compositionde
dc.subject.engsensory compositionde
dc.subject.engplant-based dietde
dc.affiliation.instituteFakultät für Agrarwissenschaftende
dc.subject.gokfullLand- und Forstwirtschaft (PPN621302791)de
dc.notes.confirmationsentConfirmation sent 2022-10-19T13:15:02de

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