At the Food Research and Testing laboratory

High Protein, Plant-Based Wagyu Beef Helps Increase Immunity: ASEAN’s Best Food Innovation by Chula Students

The Chula Science students team recently won the “ASEAN Food Innovation Challenge 2021” with the imitation Wagyu beef — “The Marble Booster” made from 100 percent high-protein plants. Low in cholesterol, and seasoned with immunity-boosting herbs, this product is soon to be produced and sold in collaboration with Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF).

When we talk about Wagyu beef, a picture of the signature pink marbled meat and the soft, delicate, mouth-watering flavors of Japanese dishes like steak, BBQ, shabu-shabu come to mind. In the near future, health-conscious consumers, elderly people, or people with health problems who need to reduce their meat consumption won’t have to feel left out anymore when the marbled Wagyu beef hits the plant-based food market.

Nutti Hutasingh, the team leader of Food Tech Chula Chulalongkorn University
Nutti Hutasingh, the team leader of Food Tech Chula
Chulalongkorn University. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

The Marble Booster, 100 percent plant-based imitation Wagyu beef by Food Tech Chula students team led by Ph.D. candidates Nuti Hutasingh, and Waranya Techasuk, and a master’s degree
student Nutchanon Sangsomjit from the Department of Food Technology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University recently won first prize at “ASEAN Food Innovation Challenge 2021” organized by Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited (CPF) under the concept of immune-boosting and eco-friendly ready-to-eat food. There was a total of 120 submissions from 54 ASEAN universities.

“The Marble Booster is 100% plant-based imitation meat. We use state-of-the-art technology to imitate the filamentous structure of animal muscle from soy protein, and the marbled fat from canola oil,” explained Nutti Hutasingh, the team leader of Food Tech Chula.

“We also added turmeric extract and black pepper resulting in a marbled texture of Wagyu beef. Curcumin from turmeric and Piperine from black pepper help strengthen the immune system.”

Food Tech Chula Team
Food Tech Chula Team. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

Highlights of Plant-Based Imitation Wagyu Beef

Nuti explained that the concept of high-protein plant-based food seasoned with herbs, as created by the Food Tech Chula team, is new in the food industry. The key differences of this plant-based Wagyu beef from other imitation meat include:
Our product has a realistic filamentous structure that is like real meat. Generally, plant-based protein is made like ground meat, but the Marble Booster by the Food Tech Chula team has been developed with advanced technology to resemble pieces of meat with filaments and muscles which is unprecedented.

The Marbled Booster from Food Tech Chula is designed with an appearance of fat or “marble” by using canola oil which is low in saturated fat and has no cholesterol. The product has a texture like a marbled pork collar cut.

It has high nutritional value plus immune-boosting herbs. All raw materials are plant-based: for example, soy protein, which has high protein; canola oil, which is low in saturated fat. It is seasoned with turmeric and black pepper, which together, enhance the immune system and can absorb up to 2,000 percent into the body.

The Marble Booster has a realistic meat texture. When cooked, it maintains the shape, flexibility, and juiciness similar to that of real meat. It is easy to cook. However, what still needs improvement are the aroma and taste, and the Food Tech Chula team assured us that this will be done in less than a year.

MOCKUP of The Marble Booster, Plant-Based Imitation Wagyu Beef
MOCKUP of The Marble Booster, Plant-Based Imitation Wagyu Beef. Photo: Chulalongkorn University.

Soon, consumers will have the opportunity to taste this ready-to-eat, plant-based imitation Wagyu beef which will be sold at convenience stores. Nuti is confident that the plant-based Wagyu beef will be popular with both vegetarian and flexitarian consumers, as well as meat-eaters who wish to try new healthy food.

“The plant-based Wagyu beef is different from the imitation meat dishes that are available during the annual Vegetarian Festival. Those dishes are made with the textured vegetable protein that is not a good meat substitute, and the body is less likely to absorb it compared to soy protein,” Nuti stressed the highlight of his product while concluding with the team’s plan.

“We would like to expand this innovation into more variety in appearances, like using olive oil instead of canola oil, adding other herbs to help boost the immune system, or reduce sugar content, etc., but still maintain as many health benefits for our consumers as possible.”

By Chulalongkorn University

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Chulalongkorn University

“Chulalongkorn University sets the standard as a university of
innovations for society and is listed in the World’s Top 100 Universities for Academic Reputation, in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2021-2022.”

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