Plant-Based Proteins: TVP and HMMA

Advanced Technology for the Production of Texturized Proteins

Plant-based meat substitutes are products made from plants but manufactured to look like their meat equivalents. The demand for these products is driven by consumers seeking to reduce their meat intake for personal health reasons, animal welfare concerns, and the desire to more environmental viability.

The primary plant-based protein products are TVP (Texturized Vegetable Proteins) and HMMA (High Moisture Meat Analogues). TVP products are dehydrated pellets, small flakes or chunks and must be enriched with water before further processing and consumption, while HMMA products contain moisture and have an equivalent texture to meat products.

Soy, pea, and wheat proteins are some of the most common ingredients for many plant-based meat analogues, but there is a wide range of other viable alternatives.

We offer standard recipes for TVP and HMMA utilizing a variety of different proteins and also support in investigating the use of any protein in our comprehensive equipped test centers.

Technology plays a major role in the successful production plant-based proteins. Coperion provides first-class technology solutions and comprehensive process know-how for the production of high-quality plant-based meat analogues.

Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruders with ZGF Pelletizer or specialized cooling die, Coperion K-Tron’s line of high-accuracy Loss-In-Weight (LIW) feeders, and Coperion and Coperion K-Tron’s material handling equipment for ingredient delivery, are designed to reliably produce high-quality TVP and HMMA products with highest efficiency and flexibility.

We offer extensive training at our test centers or on-site at your facilities to learn how to smoothly use our technologies in the production of TVP and HMMA.

First-class Technology for Plant-Based Protein Production

  • Coperion and Coperion K-Tron’s high-accuracy material handling equipment, feeders and components provide highest hygienic standards, easy cleaning and maintenance
  • ZSK Food Extruders ensure highest TVP and HMMA product quality and maximum flexibility in production
  • Comprehensive process know-how to integrate all technologies seamlessly into the overall process
  • Most accurate and safe delivery of raw ingredients to the extruder
  • Recipe development
  • Highly efficient manufacturing process
  • Comprehensively equipped Food Test Centers for the development and testing of feeding, conveying, and extrusion with special ingredients under real production conditions – before making any investment
  • Training
Coperion process Set-up for the production of plant-based proteins
Coperion process set-up for the production of plant-based proteins

Don't miss our upcoming Food Extrusion Seminar!

Nov 13-14, 2024 in Stuttgart, Germany

Do you want to learn more about food extrusion and the production of plant-based proteins? Register for this year's Food Extrusion Seminar! Our experts will cover both theoretical and practical units and will convey basic knowledge as well as information on the latest technical developments and trends in twin screw food extrusion.

Learn more
  • Food & Pet Food

Production of TVP (Texturized Vegetable Proteins) and HMMA (High Moisture Meat Analogues)

The heart of both TVP and HMMA production is Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruder. Both products are manufactured using protein powder and water as the main ingredients, but the process conditions inside the extruder are quite different.

The temperature profile within the extruder, screw speed, moisture content, and the die design at the discharge all play a significant role in the manufacturing process and the product quality of TVP and HMMA.

Extrusion is a continuous process, which means that conveying systems and feeders automatically supply the raw materials at the required rate. Coperion K-Tron gravimetric bulk solid feeders provide a steady supply of protein powders, while liquid feeders add water to the melt. After intensive mixing and cooking within the ZSK Food Extruder, the melt passes through the die plate of the ZGF Centric Pelletizer for TVP production, but for HMMA products the melt passes through a specialized cooling die.

Both products emerge as intermediate products. Further processing is necessary before they are ready for the consumer. HMMA products have dense, fibrous structures similar to muscle meats. They contain 50 to 70 percent moisture and should be stored chilled or frozen. HMMA products can be used to create ready-to-eat dishes. TVP products have expanded fibrous structures due to gaps left when water vaporizes at high temperatures. They contain 10 to 30 percent moisture and are stable for shelf storage as dry products. TVP must be soaked in water before further use in products such as burgers, chicken strips, mince, or sausages.

Video: Extrusion of TVP (Texturized Vegetable Proteins)

Coperion Exrtusion of Direct Expanded Products Play video
In this video, you will get an insight into the manufacturing process of direct expanded products, such as TVP (Texturized Vegetable Proteins).


Coperion Cooling Die MEGAtex S7

Cooling dies for High Moisture Meat Analogues (HMMA)

The ZSK Food Extruder and the MEGAtex cooling die are the core technologies within the high moisture extrusion process that generates meat analogues from plant proteins with a dense, fibrous structure that closely resembles lean animal meat.


ZSK Food Extruder in Hybrid Version

With the ZSK Food Extruder in Hybrid Version Coperion offers a solution which makes it possible to produce TVP and HMMA on the very same system. Previously, different extrusion lines were required for the production of the two types of meat analogues - and thus high investments. The ZSK Food Extruder in Hybrid Version offers unprecedented flexibility for smaller companies, research units and start-ups in particular to enter the production of meat substitutes.

Coperion White Paper on Plant-Based Protein Processing


We have compiled valuable know-how and helpful tips on all aspects of TVP and HMMA production for you in this white paper.

Video: Extrusion of HMMA (High Moisture Meat Analogues)

Coperion Cooling die for HMMA extrusion Play video
Take a look at this video! It shows you how we have produced HMMA (High Moisture Meat Analogues) on a ZSK Food Extruder in our Food Test Lab.
Coperion Food Test Center in Stuttgart


Coperion offers global food test centers to customers for the development and testing of feeding, conveying, and extrusion with several ingredients, including the most difficult ones. A team of experts is available to support recipe development, to test material characteristics and properties and provide know-how to the technical design options for optimal process quality and safety in comprehensive trainings.
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Comprehensive Product Range

Coperion twin screw extruder ZSK 54 Mv diagonal

ZSK Food Extruders

Process Innovation for Meat Analogue Extrusion

The outer to inner working screw diameter of Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruder is 1.8, making it the highest free volume extruder on the market. This ratio remains constant for the different extruder sizes, which is vital for scale-up. ZSK Food Extruders have higher capacities than competitive products within a lower overall space footprint and reduced energy profile. This is due to the industry-leading screw speed of 1800 min-1.

Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruder in Hybrid Version makes it easy to set up production for both. TVP and HMMA, and switch between the two.

LIW powder feeder, LIW liquid feeder

Feeding Equipment

Liquid and Powder Ingredient Addition with Unsurpassed Accuracy

The Coperion K-Tron line of gravimetric dry powder and liquid feeders provide the perfect material feeding combination for meat analogue and texturized protein extrusion. Liquid loss-in-weight feeders offer significant advantages over traditional flow meters, for example higher accuracy and better control of feeding, as well as easier calibration. Highly reliable feeding and refill systems prevent feeding inaccuracies that could cause shutdown of the entire extrusion line which, in turn, adds to process time and calls for cleaning.

Volumetric and Gravimetric Feeders
Coperion K-Tron Bag Dump in hygienic design

Material Handling

Hygienic Easy Clean Designs

The material handling and feeder refill systems provided by Coperion and Coperion K-Tron can ensure the delivery of the ingredient from a variety of sources direct to the gravimetric feeder. Whether delivering and batching in a blender prior to the extrusion process, or direct to individual feeders above the extruder, the conveying and transfer systems offered are all designed with ease of cleaning, accessibility and quick product changeover in mind.

Coperion’s ZSK Mv PLUS twin screw extruder fulfills the highest hygiene and safety requirements

Plants & Systems

Innovative Designs for Quick Cleaning of Meat Analogue Extrusion Systems

The experienced systems engineers of Coperion and Coperion K-Tron have extensive background in hygienic designs for complete material handling and extrusion systems for texturized vegetable protein and high moisture meat analogues. Integrated systems complete with the latest technologies in PLC operation and recipe control are available.

Plants & Systems
Coperion service technician


Superior Global Service

Our global service personnel possess extensive material handling and process design knowledge for these special hygienic applications and are available 24/7 to assist you with your texturized protein and meat analogues process needs.

After Sales Service

Literature Downloads

Frequently Asked Questions

What are differences in extrusion techniques between TVP (Texturized Vegetable Proteins) and HMMA (High Moisture Meat Analogues)?

Co-rotating twin screw extruders are used for the production of both TVP and HMMA, although the set-ups for both products are totally different. The process section of Coperion’s highly efficient ZSK Food Extruder is designed as a modular system. It consists of several barrels in which the co-rotating screws operate. These screws also consist of different screw elements which can be combined individually. The advantage of this modular principle is the inherent maximum flexibility in the extrusion process.

It should be noted that Coperion’s ZSK Food Extruder has an outer to inner working screw diameter ratio (Do/Di) of 1.8, thus making it the highest free volume extruder available on the market. Its high free volume allows for a much higher capacity within a lower overall space and reduced energy profile. It is particularly beneficial when working with difficult-to-feed powders, such as proteins. The ZSK Food Extruder can be run with screw speeds up to 1,800 rpm which is also unique to the market and offers new perspectives e.g. for the extrusion of HMMA.

Extrusion of TVP

TVP is used as meat substitute or meat extender. It can be produced and used in different sizes and forms for different applications as smaller pellets or larger chunks, broken down or ground. TVP is a dry, porous (expanded) product with a long shelf life in normal ambient conditions. Before it can be used, it has to be soaked in water/ liquid.

Soy, legume and wheat protein as well as cotton seed and other proteins are used. It is important to note that protein functionality and concentration in the bulk material is important for good results. Quality parameters for TVP products include water uptake of the extrudate as well as fiber texture and length.

For TVP extrusion processes, the extruder is set up with a medium length process section and Coperion’s centric pelletizer ZGF. The bulk raw protein material is continuously fed into the main inlet of the extruder, and immediately after that, water is injected via Coperion K-Tron loss-in-weight liquid feeders. In some cases, direct steam injection to the process section is applied as well. Inside the extruder’s process section, the material is mixed, hydrated, then kneaded, cooked and denatured.

At the end of the extruder process section, the product exits through a special die head, inside which a certain alignment of the product is achieved to ensure a porous, foamy structure with orientated fibers. It is cut immediately by the rotating knives of the ZGF pelletizer. The TVP granules then need to be dried to be stable for long storage. TVP can be run at high production rates and large extruder sizes.

Extrusion of HMMA

HMMA aims for high-end meat analogue products used in ready-to-eat dishes. Different structures simulating different meat types (such as pork, poultry or beef) can be achieved by adjusting recipe and process parameters. One of the most important advantages from both the consumer’s and manufacturer’s point of view are that HMMA products are amazingly similar in appearance and texture to genuine meat.

For HMMA production, the water content is similar to lean meat, about 50 to 80% extrusion moisture. Consequently, the final products need to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer and are as delicate as meat. The protein sources used for HMMA are mainly legume proteins such as soy, lupine and pea. In some cases – such as when used for actual meat extenders – reduced amounts of genuine meat, fish, milk or wheat proteins are added to the recipe.

In the HMMA process, the process section of the ZSK Food Extruder must be quite long and a special cooling is attached directly to the extruder. Raw protein materials are fed into the inlet of the extruder and water is injected directly after that. Inside the process section of the twin screw extruder, the mass is mixed thoroughly, then the proteins are hydrated, kneaded, plasticized, and denatured under high mechanical energy input. The mass is pushed by the extruder into the cooling die where it is cooled down and forced into laminar flow. Here the transformation to solid phase takes place, building fibers by “freezing” the laminar flow profile into meat-like structures. The meat analogues usually exit the die as a rubbery strand or ribbon. This ribbon-like material is then conveyed to further processing steps.

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