Aroma Comparison between Plant-based Hamburgers and Traditional Beef Hamburgers

  •  Joshua D. Zyzak    
  •  Nathaniel A. Britt    
  •  Lucy E. Jones    
  •  Phillip K. Gilbert    
  •  Callie E. Boggs    
  •  Li Li Zyzak    


The aim of the study was to investigate the differences in aroma in the many plant-based hamburger analogues in the market today when compared with traditional beef hamburger. For that purpose, we investigated the aroma components using headspace gas chromatography-olfactometry and gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry analytical methods. The lipid-derived aldehydes and Maillard reaction compounds were key contributors to the characteristic aroma of a beef hamburger. And that most of the plant-based burgers in the market today were unable to replicate that profile. The plant-based meat analogues displayed a more roasted odor character with higher pyrazine levels and then many show evidence to the addition of other flavor compounds and spices to give the perception of a flavored meat analogue. These approaches resulted in higher flavor intensity; however, the result was something very sensorially different than the sweet, juicy, buttery, and meaty character of beef hamburger. Based on these findings, replication of the characteristic aroma of beef hamburger is complex. This work provides new insights into the key aroma contributors of beef hamburgers and the challenges that exist in trying to replicate it with plant-based meat analogues.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.