The color-developing methods for cultivated meat and meat analogues: A mini-review

Ermie Jr. Mariano1, Da Young Lee1, Seung Hyeon Yun1, Juhyun Lee1, Yeongwoo Choi1, Jin Mo Park1, Dahee Han1, Jin Soo Kim1, Sun Jin Hur1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1Department of Animal Science and Technology, Chung-Ang University, Anseong 17546, Korea
*Corresponding Author: Sun Jin Hur.E-mail:

© Copyright 2024 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Dec 21, 2023 ; Revised: Feb 07, 2024 ; Accepted: Feb 08, 2024

Published Online: Feb 08, 2024


Novel meat-inspired products, such as cell-cultivated meat and meat analogues, embrace environmental sustainability, food safety and security, animal welfare, and human health, but consumers are still hesitant to accept these products. The appearance of food is often the most persuasive determinant of purchasing decisions for food. Producing cultivated meat and meat analogues with similar characteristics to conventional meat could lead to increased acceptability, marketability, and profitability. Color is one of the sensorial characteristics that can be improved using color-inducing methods and colorants. Synthetic colorants are cheap and stable, but natural pigments are regarded as safer components for novel food production. The complexity of identifying specific colorants to imitate both raw and cooked meat color lies in the differences in ingredients and methods used to produce meat alternatives. Research devoted to improving the sensorial characteristics of meat analogues has noted various color-inducing methods (e.g., ohmic cooking and pasteurization) and additives (e.g., lactoferrin, laccase, xylose, and pectin). Additionally, considerations toward other meat components, such as fat, can aid in mimicking conventional meat appearance. For instance, the use of plant-based fat replacers and scaffolds can produce a marked sensory enhancement without compromising the sustainability of alternative meats. Moving forward, consumer-relevant sensorial characteristics, such as taste and texture, should be prioritized alongside improving the coloration of meat alternatives.

Keywords: cultured meat; meat analogue; colorant; plant-based meat; mycoprotein