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Laying the Foundations for the Plant-Based Sector of Tomorrow

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RSSL is a leading food research organization operating out of Reading in the UK. Founded in 1987, the company has a proven history of innovation and excellence within the food industry and today, boasts a highly specialized team of over 350 scientists, product developers, chefs and regulatory experts. Together, these professionals collaborate with clients of varying size to regularly bring new products to market, overseeing every stage from initial concept to scale-up and final commercialization.

In order to offer clients a comprehensive portfolio of development services, the specialist technical expertise of the in-house team spans a wide range of areas, all connected to the growing plant-based sector. Pertinently, these skills include in-depth ingredient research, product development, quality and safety testing, ingredient sourcing and regulatory support. The latter has the potential to prove vital for clients as companies seek to navigate the increasingly difficult landscape of plant-based food labeling.

Already–in just 36 years of operation–RSSL has played a pivotal role in transforming the global food industry by accelerating the development and launch of sustainable and innovative plant-based products.

Supporting the plant-based sector

RSSL specifically supports clients in the plant-based sector in a number of ways, offering reliable expertise to those already established in the market and newcomers alike. Due to the growth being witnessed by the plant-based niche, speed, knowledge, and regulatory awareness are key services that secure RSSL ambitious clients.

As consumers appear to be demanding ever more plant-based food choices, manufacturers are looking to meat mimics and protein-rich offerings as a growth opportunity. To facilitate the creation and successful commercialization of new food products RSSL assists with the entire development process. This includes initial concept brainstorming all the way through to scale-up to factory production and encompasses everything in between. This includes product testing and development to meet nutritional targets.

In addition, analytical services are offered, to help clients understand the taste, texture, shelf life and nutritional value of their plant-based products. This will be key for manufacturers that want to enjoy longevity within the plant-based sector.

RSSL provides ground-level regulatory support for those in the plant-based sector. The specialist advisory team helps clients to obtain regulatory approval-by meeting stringent production and nutrition criteria for novel plant-based ingredients, including, but not limited to, those produced through cell cultivation and precision fermentation. This last point is important to note, as food manufacturers are increasingly embracing emerging technologies to create foods that have a reasonable chance at tempting even committed carnivores to convert to plant-based eating.

Observing plant-based trends

RSSL states that it has observed a number of emerging trends in the plant-based sector, all of which it has used to maintain a contemporary approach to product development.

Chief amongst the trends is increased demand for clean-label and whole food-based products. According to RSSL, consumers are increasingly looking for plant-based products that are made with recognizable ingredients. This is why there has been a steep rise in the number of companies looking to develop protein products that do not rely on mimicking meat to garner consumer interest.

Alongside whole-foods focus there is a growing interest in cell-based and precision fermentation-derived ingredients. These ingredients have the potential to deliver the taste, functionality and nutritional value of animal-derived products without the environmental or ethical drawbacks. This makes them suitable for most consumers but could be used to particularly target flexitarians, who acknowledge they want to eat fewer animal products but are not ready to say goodbye to favorite items permanently.

Preparing for future foods

RSSL is preparing for the future of the global food system by investing in research and development within key areas, namely new plant-based ingredients, sustainable processing technologies and cell-based and precision fermentation specialisms. This, it claims, will help it to remain a critical partner of the plant-based sector as it continues its growth trajectory and as the world embraces a more sustainable food system.

To find out more about RSSL, please visit

Amy Buxton