There’s no doubt about it: plant-based foods and beverages have gone mainstream, thanks to an ever-widening base of consumers that reaches beyond vegans and vegetarians. In fact, while most flexitarian consumers are trying to increase their consumption of such products, 59% of them still eat meat and dairy. What this means for formulators is that the bar is higher than ever, as today’s largest segment of flexitarian consumers isn’t necessarily devout and will revert back to conventional versions of their favorite foods if alternatives aren’t just as good—or better.
Nutrition and sustainability attributes still remain category drivers for plant-based products. In a nod to the category’s evolution, it also reports that culinary engagement, or the ability to get creative in the kitchen, is as important as ever. Indeed, research shows that taste is beginning to eclipse nutrition in importance: 63% of consumers place these qualities on equal footing, confirming that if a product doesn’t taste great, no amount of nutritional value will motivate repurchase.
With stress and anxiety on the rise, Mintel reports that consumers are turning to comfort foods and classic dishes to improve their moods and transport them back to less stressful times in their lives. In order for plant-based foods to compete in this environment, it’s critical that they overcome taste and texture challenges. Replicating a dish isn’t about just one element, it’s about replicating the entire eating experience.
In the meat-alternatives space, for example, it’s important replicating the smell and sizzle of cooking bacon or providing beneficial nutrients like high quality protein.
Finding the right formulating partner is often all it takes to meet these varying demands and being in line with current trends.
Plant-based products demand is growing faster in all applications. The greater expansion mainly affects categories fortified with proteins, Omega 3 DHA, Vitamin D and fibres.
Fortification involves plant-based milks and yogurt where normally there is lack of proteins. For instance, US only, registered a 21,9% increase in plant-based milks last January, while sales of plant-based cheese and yogurt were up to 43,6%.
Generally speaking, launches with pea protein have tripled versus four years ago. Consumers of plant-based products consider those categories healthier than others.
Find out some of the product ranges from our represented companies:
COSUCRA (link) – Inulin and FOS from chicory, Pea proteins, pea fibers and starch.
PROVA (link) Extracts, natural and natural identical and flavors from vanilla, cocoa, coffee and other “toasted and gourmet notes” (caramel, nut fruits, milk and pastry notes, etc.)
BTSA (link) – antioxidant tocopherols from soya and sunflower, natural Vitamin E, Omega 3 from fish, algae and flaxseed.
DIVI’S (link) Vitamin and food colorants for food and nutraceutical (Beta-Carotene, Lycopene, Astaxanthin, Lutein, Vitamin A, D2 and D3).
LIPOTEC (link) – Micro encapsulated elements such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, curcumin, astaxanthine, caffein and phytosterols.
VESTKORN (link) – Cell fibers, concentrated proteins, textured protein from pea and faba.
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