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The R&D teams at MANE Noisiel are monitoring consumer trends closely and using their expertise in plant protein to increase the Group’s reputation around the world.

Located just a few kilometres from Paris, MANE’s site at Noisiel is devoted to the creation, application and evaluation of the Group’s flavourings. Its offices are housed in a building which the Group purchased from France Protéines Services, a company with expertise in producing ingredient mixtures (flavourings and functional elements) for the meat industry.

At the heart of the building is a kitchen that Philippe Lavotte, Business Development - Plant Based Products, describes as “the most important R&D room on the site.” The role of the R&D teams is to take wish-lists from customers – most of whom specialise in meat products and plant-based alternatives – and turn their requests into finished products. “We are creating prototypes for clients on an almost daily basis,” says Olivier Katona, R&D Manager at Noisiel. “In practice, it means experimenting with manufacturing processes and the ingredients needed to make products. By demonstrating these prototypes, we can show clients how our flavouring solutions perform in real-life conditions.”

Accuracy in the formulation, and careful handling

To perform these demonstrations, small quantities of various raw materials are stored at the Noisiel site. Depending on the customer’s request, the R&D teams can provide either the flavouring for a base, or a complete solution with all the ingredients required for the end product. Precision is the watchword, for both the formulation itself and the handling of the ingredients – with raw materials being weighed to the exact milligram required.

“We have a long history of using plant proteins in meat products,” explains Philippe Lavotte. The solutions designed at Noisiel are mainly for raw products (meat-based preparations, marinated products, chipolatas, etc.), either fresh or frozen, and hybrid applications (70% plant-based and 30% meat, for example). The R&D teams can offer a range of solutions, such as:

  • a mixture for a product that will be 51% meat-based, comprising flavourings, spices and functional ingredients (proteins, gelling agents, thickeners, salt, etc.);
  • a complete mixture for a vegetarian or vegan burger with plant-based proteins.

Recognised know-how in plant-based proteins

“In Europe, we are recognised as having the highest degree of expertise in plant-based proteins,” says Olivier Katona. “That knowledge, along with the monitoring of plant proteins that we have been carrying out for years, are huge assets for us. In the world of flavourings, we are at the leading edge when it comes to products in this field.” Most of the plant-based proteins used in mixtures are either textured soya or peas, although wheat, rice, bean, and potato proteins are also available.

Along with its R&D activities, MANE Noisiel also has a range of support services for customer relations, sales, and marketing (market analysis, presentations, and communications content), and regulatory issues. The legal requirements, in particular, are wide ranging and include:

  • the approval of product labelling
  • responding to client queries
  • checking that ingredients are permitted under national law
  • providing technical information (lists of ingredients and allergens, etc.).

“Working at Noisiel, you realise pretty quickly that there is a strong sense of togetherness and teamwork,” says Philippe Lavotte, who joined MANE more than 20 years ago. “Most of us have been here for more than 10 years and have gained a lot of know-how during that time. My one aim is to pass on that knowledge and most of my colleagues feel exactly the same way.” In 2023, those two essential ingredients – know-how and the desire to share it – are perfectly aligned with the family values of a Group founded in 1871.