According to Global Data’s 2020 dairy trend report, one in four consumers globally is “actively trying to increase consumption of plant-based protein.”
It’s no wonder then that plant-based, dairy alternative products continue to grow in popularity. They can appeal to consumers with lactose intolerance and dairy allergies as well as the flexitarians and food explorers. There has been a boom in new product launches of spoonable, non-dairy yogurt alternatives since 2015, projected to be seven times that of dairy yogurt, according to Innova Market Insights.
Drinking yogurt alternatives are also becoming a popular protein snack that is loved by all ages. Long shelf-life drinking yogurt alternatives add the convenience of a shelf-stable format as well. Without a need for refrigeration, they can be shipped, stored and enjoyed anywhere. See why we’re making the case for long shelf-life drinking yogurt here.
Coconut and almond are the top protein bases for new product launches. Globally, they make up approximately 32% of new product launches in the yogurt alternatives market from 2018 – 2020, according to Innova Market Insights. Soy is still a big part of the market and oat is also very popular.
The key to working with alternative protein is mastering taste and texture – especially when trying to reach the flexitarian consumer and compete with your counterparts for shelf space. Consumers expect these new plant-based dairy alternatives to have all the great qualities of dairy: the same rich mouthfeel, texture and creaminess – even a similar appearance, plus stability over shelf life.
Textural challenges can arise from the absence of milkfat and casein as well as the size and hydration properties of different plant protein. Earthy or beany notes can also impact flavor.
Formulation Help Is Here
The true secret to achieving success in plant-based, non-dairy yogurt alternatives is choosing the right nature-based ingredient. In addition to contributing to texture and viscosity, it can help solve the most common challenges in both stirred and sippable formulations: syneresis control, suspension and even protein protection.
GENU® Pectin is an easily recognized, label-friendly ingredient extracted from citrus peels. It can be used to protect proteins at an acidic pH and provide long-lasting stability over shelf life while also preventing sedimentation and syneresis. A well-known gelling agent, pectin can help formulators create a creamy, spoonable texture by delivering that missing “fat sensation” and optimize mouthfeel when combined with starch or NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber.
KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum is a multifunctional, fermentation-derived ingredient for solving plant-based protein challenges. It provides stabilization and suspension of insoluble protein, calcium, minerals and other particles in yogurt drinks while contributing minimal mouthfeel and ensuring a smooth pour.
Plus, we have a fiber ingredient solution: NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber is a next-generation fiber ingredient that comes from sustainably sourced citrus peels, an abundant byproduct of the juice industry. It is considered a food ingredient and can be listed as citrus fiber on the label. This makes it an attractive option because it can help formulators meet their clean label goals while supporting dietary fiber intake. NUTRAVA® Citrus Fiber supports stability, suspension, body and texture in plant-based spoonable and drinking yogurt alternatives. It supports reduced-fat and reduced-sugar formulations and may also be used as an alternative to starch.
When a product developer is able to connect all of the elements of innovation, there is no limit to the potential for success with plant-based, non-dairy yogurt alternatives. Using nature-based ingredients will complement your plant proteins. Because of their multifunctional qualities, they may also help shorten your ingredient list overall. Ask about grades available to meet claims of organic compliance, non-GMO, gluten-free, halal, kosher and other clean label goals.