Prof. Alejandro Marangoni
Prof. Alejandro Marangoni

Why is the new crop of plant-based veggie burgers so popular with consumers? It all comes down to better meat-like texture, Prof. Alejandro Marangoni told the Toronto Star.

Marangoni, with U of G’s Department of Food Science, said traditional soy-based burgers don’t quite have the texture of meat, but the pea protein in this new generation of veggie burgers crumbles more like real ground beef.

After explaining in detail how split peas are transformed into veggie burgers, Marangoni added that he and fellow U of G researchers are also working to create plant-based “meats” that would mimic the fibrous texture of steak or chicken breast.

He and a team of U of G engineers and food scientists have begun to develop prototypes, thanks to an international research award worth $330,000.

Marangoni is the Canada Research Chair in Food, Health and Aging and  studies the physical properties of foods, particularly fat crystallization and structure.