The Food Materials Research Team at MTEC-NSTDA has achieved success in developing novel plant-based meat substitutes that closely mimic the texture and taste of real meat, branding them as 'Ve-Sea.' The products cater to wellness-oriented consumers and those with seafood allergies.
Currently, seafood products are witnessing significant demand as food innovations. Statistical data reveals that the plant-based seafood market has grown by 14% between 2021 and 2022, with an estimated 28.5% growth expected from 2022 to 2029. Due to the difficulty in replicating meat-like texture, these plant-based seafood substitutes currently hold only a 1% market share of plant-based meat. This presents a relatively high business opportunity.
The objective behind creating Ve-Sea products extends beyond fulfilling consumer demand; it also targets market opportunities for technology transfer to entrepreneurs. This will enable both B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) approaches, encompassing both domestic and international markets.
The three ready-to-transfer Ve-Sea products include fish ball, fish noodle, and fish cake bar. They not only closely mimic the texture of real fish, but also contain comparable protein content to conventional fish products. The plant-based squid substitute is scheduled for launch and technology transfer readiness by the year 2024.
Ve-Sea products are available in two formulations. The first one is "gluten-free", catering to consumers with gluten allergies, which is a major market located in Europe and America. This formulation contains 4-8% soy protein by weight, which is comparable to or higher than conventional fish imitation products in the market. The second formulation is for manufacturers seeking to increase the protein content in their products. It contains over 8% protein by weight, with a firmer and more elastic texture compared to the first formulation. In addition to its versatility as a fish substitute in various dishes, Ve-Sea is also cholesterol-free, making it suitable for health-conscious consumers aiming to control their fat intake.
Apart from technology transfer efforts to the private sector, the research team has been contributing to driving the Thai food industry through the FoodSERP platform. The team offers research and development services for novel foods, including plant-based meat, customized textures for consumers with swallowing difficulties and the elderly, and new products catering to market demands. Quality testing services are also provided, such as texture analysis and digestion and nutrient absorption using a simulated digestion model.
1. Technology transfer for Ve-Sea (plant-based Seafood) and Ve-Chick (plant-based Chicken)
Mr. Chanit Wanikanukul (Business Development Division)
Tel: 0 2564 6500, ext. 4788
2. FoodSERP - Service Platform for Food & Functional Ingredients