In plant-based protein development, many researchers have uncovered beet powder as an essential ingredient for meat alternatives. This vibrant purple-red substance can create the signifying pink color we often associate with real meat, but it needs to be used strategically. Too much beet powder in meat alternatives may make the plant-based protein hot pink, and too little may lead to an unappetizing gray.

Create Quantitative Color Measurements With Spectrophotometry

Color is a measurable science, even if it seems like a subjective quality. We perceive color based on how much an object transmits and absorbs the wavelengths of light, and we can measure this transmittance and absorbance to quantify color.

Spectrophotometers achieve this measurement with a single light source separated into each individual wavelength. These different wavelengths appear as different colors. Violet light has the highest wavelength frequency, and red has the lowest.

A spectrophotometer will isolate a single wavelength and direct it at a sample. Then, a sensor will measure how much of the light is absorbed and transmitted. The colors an object transmits are the colors we see, so beet powder transmits violet and red. The spectrophotometer will create a dataset of the different wavelengths for users to understand the color makeup of a sample.

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Applying Spectrophotometry in Meat Substitute Development

Spectrophotometry allows plant-based protein developers to create color recipes for vegan meat. Since beet powder is often a critical ingredient in mimicking real meat’s appearance, quantifying its color is essential for consistency.

Developers can measure a sample of real meat with a spectrophotometer to identify the color levels they want to achieve in vegan protein products. Measuring a sample of the beet powder can then help developers determine how much of this ingredient is needed to achieve the color levels in real meat.

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Meat is recognizable for its pink and red colors that shift to brown during the cooking process. Beet powder in meat alternatives can create that signifying pink or red color, but too much of the beet’s vibrant hue can take a vegan meat product from realistic to unappealing.

Explore Spectrophotometers at HunterLab

At HunterLab, our range of spectrophotometers offers the features that plant-based protein developers need to effectively measure beet powder in meat substitutes. With benchtop and portable models, operations can assess color levels anywhere and according to their existing workflows. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our products and how they can support you in meat substitute development.