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By  Emily Lehmann 8 May 2024 3 min read

Key points

  • We've turned red meat into a nutrient-dense, high-protein powder called Just Meat.
  • Taking red meat to the health and wellness sector is a $3.8 billion market opportunity according to our Protein Roadmap.
  • It's contributing to our Future Protein Mission's goal to deliver new and value-added products to meet the growing global demand for protein.

Often a meal revolves around meat, with a steak taking centre stage. But maybe you can get the meat in ‘meat and three veg’ in another way.

An innovative protein powder could see red meat consumed in a wider range of products – from smoothie-like beverages to sweet snacks. The powder sounds a bit weird at first, but its mild flavour will leave your palette none-the-wiser. And perhaps wanting more.

We’ve been building a new venture to take our Just Meat protein powder to kitchen pantries and food manufacturers around the world.   

But a steak tastes pretty good, so why turn it into a powder? 

Our Chief Executive, Dr Doug Hilton, and lead scientist, Dr Aarti Tobin, get a taste for protein balls using Just Meat.

A 'magic' meat powder

Protein is an essential macro-nutrient. And while there are plenty of protein powders on the market already – from pea to whey and rice proteins – there’s a gap in the market that Just Meat is set to fill. 

Red meat is a complete protein which means it contains all the essential amino acids. It’s also naturally high in iron, zinc and magnesium, and allergen free so it’s suitable for people with dairy or soy intolerances. 

And this new product provides an alternative to consuming meat in steaks or sausages. 

Dr Aarti Tobin is the Animal Protein Lead with our Future Protein Mission. She said Just Meat will help meet growing demand for protein.  

“Innovation like this is crucial because we need to produce more protein, from more sources, sustainably to meet a growing world population,” Aarti said. 

“The powder is non-perishable, which means you can overcome refrigeration and transportation barriers to deliver meat’s nutritional benefits to very remote locations or during a disaster, for example.

“It has huge possibilities from enhancing protein in food for the elderly to fortifying beverages such as energy drinks or use in protein shakes.” 

Adding to the benefits, this powder can be sourced from quality meats that traditionally fetch lower prices.

Meaty protein balls could be on the future menu.

A growth opportunity for Australia’s red meat sector

Most of red meat’s value comes from only 20 per cent of the carcass. That remaining 80 per cent is considered manufacturing-grade and is often turned into mince and burgers.  We’ve upgraded this meat into our Just Meat protein powder, which could help deliver big value for the industry.  

Our Protein Roadmap estimates that targeting the health and wellness market could add $3.8 billion in value to Australia’s red meat industry by 2030. 

Our Dean Alle is working with various industry partners to bring Just Meat to market. 

“The team is working closely with stakeholders across the value chain. With farmers and meat processors who want to diversify and grow the value of their products. We're also working with global ingredient and food manufacturers to bring functional and nutritious proteins into their products,” Dean said.

“We have explored a range of applications for this protein powder: from iron-enhanced sports nutrition supplements to energy drinks.” 

Science behind the breakthrough powder 

With early investment from Meat & Livestock Australia, food technologists at our Coopers’ Plains site in Brisbane started developing the powder in 2021.

The product was designed to be high in protein and other nutrients, dissolve easily in water, and have a mild flavour to make it as versatile as possible. That way it can be “magically” used in a diverse range of products while maximising nutritional benefits. 

“What sets our protein powder apart is its solubility and nutritional profile,” Aarti said. 

“The powder is not made from dried meat, rather we’ve extracted nutrients from raw meat through a hydrolyses process.

“We were able to use our pilot plant in Werribee near Melbourne to scale the process to produce kilograms of the powder.

“We then successfully tested this powder in high protein shakes, bars, protein balls as well as high protein juice.”  

Partnering to take the powder to grocery aisles

Have we piqued your appetites yet? Adding a meat-based protein powder to your shopping list may soon be a thing. 

The next stage is to partner with industry and investors to conduct product trials and co-create a new venture. Industry and investors will join our Protein Futures 2024 event in Sydney on 28-29 May to learn about Just Meat and other commercial opportunities. 

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