A US soya company has unveiled a new fake-meat manufacturing process that uses a blend of soya and meat protein to make faux beef and chicken.

The Solae Company, which was formed by food industry giants Du Pont and Bunge Limited, launched SoleCina(TM), at the annual meeting of the US Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), in Orlando.

Solae claims the resulting product is "nutritious", and after added flavourings has "virtually the same [appearance] taste and texture of traditional beef or chicken", including "beef strips, chunks, patties or steak", with "the consistency of cooked, whole muscle meat".

An IFT note said SoleCina was "a unique structuring technology" which enables manufacturers to make profits by making attractive products using "lower-valued meat". R&D vice president Jonathan McIntyre stressed the protein, iron, B-vitamins and low cholesterol of SoleCina's soya, saying the product is "attractively presented and tastes outstanding."

St Louis-based Solae has yet to announce the manufacturers who will use SoleCina, but McIntyre said products made with the technology would be retailed this year. The invention follows more than ten years of research.

"It's a big advance for us. This has not been done before to the extent we are doing it," said, Mr McIntyre.