Technological Review of High-Moisture Extrusion for Creating Whole-Cut Plant-Based Meat

GFI India’s specialists have authored a comprehensive state-of-the-art literature review on the high-moisture extrusion technology for plant-based meat. This report explains the nuances of ingredient selection, extruder operation, and control, and quality analysis of extruded plant-based meat products. In this review, we present experts’ opinions on the opportunities and challenges one may encounter when setting up a manufacturing capacity focused on extrusion for the development of high-moisture meat analogs (HMMA).


High-moisture extrusion (HME) is the established technology for processing plant proteins and manufacturing whole-cut plant-based meat. The science of extrusion has been continually evolving by imbibing numerous innovations related to process control and end-product quality. The primary motivation for the advancements in HME technology is to create diverse taste and texture profiles desired by the consumer. Hence, it is imperative for plant-based food scientists to keep themselves updated with the latest developments in HME technology.

The inherent advantages in terms of crop biodiversity and the ability to operate manufacturing units at low costs can position India as an export hub for producing textured vegetable proteins. However, despite the resourcefulness of HME technology and extruders for the plant-based food sector, extrusion capacity and capability in India are yet to reach a significant number. The need of the hour is to foster technological innovations and funding to promote academic research on extrusion technology. It is equally important to improve the manufacturing capacity for extrusion. A participatory approach between stakeholders across academia, industry, and government scientific bodies is central to enhancing the extrusion manufacturing capacity that can strengthen the plant-based smart protein sector.

Key insights from the report

  • Extrusion, a thermomechanical process, is an established bottom-up approach and commercial technology for manufacturing plant-based meat analogs.
  • High-moisture extrusion (HME) results in a look-and-feel-alike plant-based alternative to conventional whole-muscle meat products.
  • Many process, system, and product parameters govern the operation of a twin-screw extruder for high-moisture extrusion.
  • During HME, the plant proteins undergo an intricate set of conformational, structural, and rheological transformations that determine the end-product quality and characteristics.
  • The technical evaluation of HME-plant-based meat products involves the determination of their texture, microstructure, oral response, rheological properties, and sensory characteristics such as flavor, taste, and mouthfeel.
  • Commissioning an extrusion manufacturing facility entails considering several factors such as end application-based selection of extruder type,  extruder manufacturers, equipment cost, requirement for ancillary equipment, and project cost.

Read this Guide for a deeper understanding of the instructions and process flow diagrams for manufacturing whole-muscle plant-based meat and ground or restructured plant-based meat by extrusion.