According to Innova Market Insights, there has been a 46% increase in food and beverage launches with both a plant-based and a premium or indulgence claim (Global, 2018 vs. 2021). As more flexitarian consumers embrace plant-based products, we see that their purchases are a conscious choice.
Consumers could choose meat or dairy, but they do not. They choose based on innovation, sustainability, nutrition and indulgence – and they do not want to compromise on quality. But what makes a product more indulgent?
In dairy alternatives, indulgence is often associated with creaminess and richness. In meat alternatives, it can mean juiciness and an eating experience that closely resembles eating meat. Texture and mouthfeel are the deciding factors when it comes to indulgence.
Yogurt alternatives have become a popular protein snack for all ages. There are a variety of format options to suit consumers’ every need, from drinking yogurt alternatives to spoonable yogurt alternatives and ambient yogurt alternatives. And there are a variety of plant proteins to work with as well: almond, oat, coconut, pea and blends. Whatever option you choose, consumers expect it to have all the great qualities of dairy – the same rich mouthfeel, texture, creaminess and appearance.
Textural challenges can arise from the absence of milkfat and casein as well as the hydration properties of different plant protein. Earthy or beany notes in your protein choice can also impact flavor. The secret to achieving success in plant-based yogurt alternatives is choosing the right stabilizer system. In addition to contributing to texture, body and mouthfeel, it can help solve the most common challenges in both stirred and sippable formulations: syneresis control, suspension of insoluble particles and protein protection.
In the ever-expanding and very competitive dairy alternative beverages market, texture and mouthfeel are what can drive loyalty. However, preferences are often decided by region and can vary from thin and silky to full-bodied richness. A nature-based stabilizer can help you tailor the mouthfeel of your beverage so it tastes more indulgent, provide stability, and enhance the suspension of nutrients or cocoa.
From creaming and phase separation to viscosity, CP Kelco has the nature-based ingredients to solve any plant protein challenges and complement your formulation. And yes, it is possible to find a single-ingredient solution that can do the work of two. It can even provide a bit of cost savings by solving suspension and mouthfeel in one as you work towards cleaner label goals. After all, a long list of unrecognizable ingredients on the label may not match consumers’ perceptions.
The plant-based protein advances in this category are happening at a rapid pace. However, getting plant protein to behave like animal protein texture is still difficult because it does not have the bite or chewiness of meat. For the first generation of meat alternatives, products were developed to replicate meat in order to appeal to flexitarians. However, it usually took a long and complex ingredient list to achieve this. For example, methylcellulose became a common binder, forming a firm gel when heated and helping to provide a firm bite to replicate the look and texture of meat.
The next generation of meat alternatives is about finding an indulgent, meat-like eating experience but with a more recognizable ingredient list. That means enhancing juiciness and texture, as well as finding clean label-friendly alternatives to methylcellulose.
CP Kelco’s Nature-Based Portfolio of Solutions
Let us help you find the best solution to meet your plant protein challenges and deliver more indulgent texture. Our unique portfolio is derived from renewable raw materials to preserve nature’s amazing functionality. Contact us for more information.