Textured vegetable protein

Textured vegetable protein

Textured or texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP) is a meat substitute made from defatted soy flour, a by-product of making soybean oil. It is quick to cook, high in protein, and low in fat.

It is not to be confused with hydrolyzed vegetable protein, which is commonly used as a source of glutamate in various seasonings and imitation soy sauce.

Manufacturing process

TVP is made through a process known as "extrusion cooking". A dough is formed from high PDI (Protein Dispersibility Index) defatted soy flour and water in a "preconditioner" (mixing cylinder) and cooked during passage through the barrel of a screw type extruder such as the Wenger. Sometimes steam from an external source is employed to aid in the cooking process.

Upon exiting the die, superheated steam escapes, rapidly producing an expanded, spongy yet fibrous lamination of thermoplastic soy flour which takes on the various shapes of the die as it is sliced into granules, flakes, chunks, goulash, steakettes (schnitzel), etc., by revolving knives, and then dried in an oven. Had the raw material been high in carbohydrates, extrusion cooking could have produced puffed corn curls or puffed wheat. [cite web|url=http://www.asa-europe.org/pdf/extrusion.pdf|format=pdf|title=American Soybean Association: Extrusion]

Textured vegetable protein was patented in three parts; a process patent, a product patent and a use patent. A.E. Staley corporation held the use patent and Ralston Purina corporation held the process patent. All of these patents have expired or have been held inapplicable to current use.

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) held the product patent and trademarked the trade name TVP. The trade name TSP for textured soy protein is trademarked and held by Legacy Foods, LLC. ADM's ownership came from work by William Thomas Atkinson. The U.S. federal trademark registration for TVP is still valid. However, the widespread use of the term TVP for this type of foodstuff could lead to the destruction of the registration on the basis that the term has become a Genericized trademark.

Several manufacturers world wide now manufacture and sell extruded "textured" soy protein marketed under a wide array of trade names.


TVP made from soy flour contains 50% soy protein and needs to be rehydrated before use, at a weight ratio of 1:2 with water. However, TVP when made from soy concentrate contains 70% protein and can be rehydrated at a ratio of 1:3. It can be used as a meat replacement or supplement. The extrusion technology changes the structure of the soy protein, resulting in a fibrous spongy matrix that is similar in texture to meat.

When stored dry at room temperature TVP has a shelf life of more than a year, but after rehydration it should be used at once or stored for no more than three days in the refrigerator. It is usually rehydrated with cold or hot water, but a bit of vinegar or lemon juice can be added to quicken the process.

TVP can replace ground beef in most recipes, completely or partly. It is high in protein and low in fat and sodium. It is also a good source of fiber and isoflavones.

Textured vegetable protein comes as small dry chunks or flakes when bought in bulk. It has little flavor of its own and needs to be rehydrated and flavored (both can be accomplished in the same step), then added to cooking.


Textured vegetable protein is a versatile substance, different forms allowing it to take on the texture of whatever ground meat it is substituting. Using textured vegetable protein, one can make vegetarian or vegan versions of traditionally meat dishes such as chili, spaghetti bolognese, sloppy joes, tacos, burgers, or burritos.

Textured vegetable protein can be found in natural food stores and larger supermarkets, usually in the bulk section.

TVP is also very lightweight, and is often used in backpacking recipes. TVP is often used in prisons for several reasons. Its low relative cost, high protein, and low fat qualities make it ideal, as does its relatively long shelf life, which allows institutions to buy in bulk.


US Patent 3891774

See also

* Meat analogue (imitation meat)
* Quorn
* Soy allergy
* Soy protein
* Soybean
* Vegetarian/vegan
* Veggie burger
* Wheat gluten (food) — a product made from wheat flour which can be used to make some types of other meat substitutes

External links

* [http://www.futurefood.org/tofu/index_en.php TVP on "FutureFood - Meat without livestock"]
* [http://vegetarian.about.com/od/glossary/g/TVP.htm More about TVP and TVP Recipes]

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