used as a meat analogue or meat extender with a protein content equal to that of meat



  • fast food rich in protein and contains little fat 
  • used in vegetarian and East Asian cuisines



defatted soy flour

Textured or texturized vegetable protein (TVP), also known as textured soy protein (TSP), soy meat, or soya chunks is a soy flour product. It is often used as a meat analogue or meat extender. It is quick to cook, with a protein content equal to that of meat.

TVP is usually made from high (50%) soy protein soy flour or concentrate, but can also be made from cotton seeds, wheat, and oats. It is extruded into various shapes (chunks, flakes, nuggets, grains, and strips) and sizes, exiting the nozzle while still hot and expanding as it does so. The defatted thermoplastic proteins are heated to 150-200°C, which denatures them into a fibrous, insoluble, porous network that can soak up as much as three times its weight in liquids. As the pressurized molten protein mixture exits the extruder, the sudden drop in pressure causes rapid expansion into a puffy solid that is then dried. As much as 50% protein when dry, TVP can be rehydrated at a 2:1 ratio, which drops the percentage of protein to an approximation of ground meat at 16%. TVP is primarily used as a meat substitute due to its very low cost at less than a third the price of ground beef, and when cooked together will help retain more weight from the meat by absorbing juices normally lost.

TVP is extruded, causing a change in the structure of the soy protein which results in a fibrous, spongy matrix, similar in texture to meat. In its dehydrated form, TVP has a shelf life of longer than a year, but will spoil within several days after being hydrated. In its flaked form, it can be used similarly to ground meat.

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

Soy protein TVP can also be used as a low cost/high nutrition extender in comminuted meat and poultry products, and in tuna salads. Food service, retail and institutional (primarily school lunch and correctional) facilities regularly use such "extended" products. Extension may result in diminished flavor, but fat and cholesterol are reduced.

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. Because of its relatively low cost, high protein content, and long shelf life, TVP is often used in prisons and schools, as well as for disaster preparedness.