What Australians want from their plant-based burger

This is a sponsored post by Kerry

Ji Ying Lee, Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Kerry APMEA, and Katarina Rodriguez, Marketing Manager, Kerry, Australia and New Zealand discuss plant-based burger opportunities in Australia.

When it comes to plant-based foods, consumers around the world expect them to taste great. The task of producers of vegetable raw materials is to match the taste of real meat and even surpass it. Consumers looking for plant-based burgers expect them not only to be as good as real beef, but to offer improved flavor.

In Australia, the growing demand for plant-based burger innovation is being fueled by flexitarians. Because they consume both meat and meat alternatives, flexitarians are unwilling to compromise on taste and expect plant-based foods to be authentic and won’t take on anything artificial in taste.

According to Kerry’s latest study of over 1,500 consumers in four countries – US, UK, Australia and Brazil – to identify sensory expectations for plant-based burgers and alternative cheese slices (US and UK), 55% of Australian consumers surveyed said they chose plant-based foods because they thought they were healthier, and 41% chose plant-based foods because they were sustainable.

A majority of Australians (51 percent) say that sustainability motivates them to continue buying plant-based products, compared to, for example, a majority of Brazilians (67 percent) who cited a desire to improve their overall health or that of their family.

The Austrians use the beef burger as a benchmark, wanting plant-based alternatives to match it in taste, look and smell. Image Source: Kerry

When it comes to plant-based burgers, Australians use beef burgers as the benchmark – they want something that can replicate the taste of a burger grilled or eaten in a restaurant.

Winning the plant-based burger industry in Australia requires finding the right balance of organoleptic properties. According to the study, Australians rated texture as the most important. This is followed by flavor and aftertaste, appearance when cooked and cooked, appearance when raw, aroma when cooked, and finally the feel.

Australians want a firm skin and a juicy inside.

For Australians, taste alone is not enough to achieve the perfect taste of a plant-based burger. Texture is a top priority, with 74% of Australian consumers expecting a meaty firmness burger to have great texture.

Their decision making depends on what they can feel when bitten. Kerry’s analysis shows that their journey through texture starts from the moment they sink their teeth into the patty and break the outer crispy crust, to the resistance they feel with every bite, the way the patty breaks into smaller pieces, like oil and moisture. are removed. released, completely clean after mouthfeel.

As a result, they are looking for products with a firm exterior (the result of charring) and a soft, juicy interior, which 70% of Australian consumers described as “caramelized on the outside and juicy on the inside”. However, it’s a delicate balance as they don’t favor plant-based burgers that are too crispy on the outside and too soft on the inside as it’s indicative of poor quality. The challenge and opportunity for manufacturers is to achieve good flavor variation that can provide both crispiness and juiciness.

Grilled burger taste preferred

Consumers in Australia are looking for plant-based burgers that can replicate the charred, caramelized notes and savory flavor of a real beef burger, with 70% of those surveyed saying they are more likely to buy a plant-based burger with the description “real grilled burger” . Foods with these descriptions are also perceived as the best, with 76% of Australians finding them delicious.

With beef burgers as the benchmark, it’s no surprise that plant-based foods that can provide depth and complexity with a good balance between savory and meaty have performed well in Australia. Consumers look for multiple notes in every bite, from meaty, slightly smoky, with a touch of saltiness, light pepper and subtle herbal notes to boiled fat.

While Australians love complexity, they also prefer natural flavors without synthetic or artificial overtones. They find the bitterness, “cardboardness” and bean flavors commonly found in plant-based foods unappealing, and find the chemical notes that come from over-masking off-putting.

Too strong a flavor can also put off Australian consumers, as many products on the market overcompensate for the addition of salt or sodium, resulting in a lingering aftertaste.

Number of appearances

In all four markets surveyed, overcooking is a common problem that results in food that tastes bad. In Australia in particular, the cooking process has a significant impact on overall consumer satisfaction as it not only gives them visual cues about when their food is cooked and safe to eat, but also adds an emotional element of excitement and anticipation.

The consumer journey begins even before they start cooking. Australians prefer the pink hue of raw meat to be muted and natural – they don’t want to see the visible globules of fat and pink juices that mimic bleeding in regular meat, citing that it “goes too far” in terms of replicating the overall meat experience.

Image Source: Kerry
Charred and caramelized flavors top the Aussie list. Image Source: Kerry

Given that Australians prefer a charred and caramelized taste, it’s only natural that they find hamburgers that caramelize and brown during cooking to be great texture (85%) and delicious (78%), with 69% likely to buy this product.

Seeing the color change from red to brown and brown to charred or caramelized is a success as it gives the impression that rich, deep flavors are developing. On the other hand, Australians do not like to see visual cues associated with overcooking, such as food burning, sticking to the pan and falling apart.

In addition, Kerry’s research has shown that sensory cues, such as the aroma and sizzle sound that cooking makes, also help enhance the culinary experience. The intensity of the flavor increases until it becomes meaty or smoky (minus the synthetic chemical smell), and the pleasant sizzle of the patty being cooked enhances the drama in the pan, creating a positive expectation that the burger will be delicious (62 points per 1 inch). cent).

Australians also find satisfaction in plant-based burgers, which feel firm and firm in their hands, according to the study. The whole experience can literally be wrapped in paper to hold the pie.

Click here learn how to enhance consumer palatability in plant-based burgers

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