Meat flavor has been a focus of attention for the last few years, with the object of developing flavors which will convert proteins from any source into meat-like products. The development of meat flavor that will make nonmeat protein palatable is perhaps the most challenging problem that the food industry faces today.
Raw meat is almost devoid of any characteristic flavor except that of having a fundamental weak blood-like flavor super-imposed by a flavor distinctive of each species. A report in 1960 indicated that a meaty flavor is believed to originate from the lean portion of meat and the “species flavor” which distinguishes different species is derived from fat tissue. However, this is only partially accepted today.
The potential for flavor development resides in the water soluble extract. The characteristic “sulphuraceous” note of meat flavor is formed due to heat treatment, but the nature of the flavor depends on the mode of cooking and the extent of water present in the environment.