With campaigns such as ‘Veganuary’ attracting global attention and 51% average annual growth in food and beverage launches with plant-based claims (Innova Market Insights: Global, CAGR 2015-2020), the plant-based diet has gone mainstream. One in four consumers globally is “actively trying to increase consumption of plant-based protein,” according to Global Data’s 2020 dairy trend report.
It’s no wonder 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 yogurts – both dairy and plant-based – are also becoming a popular protein snack loved by all ages. Making the snack even more convenient for both consumers and companies alike, the idea of ambient drinking yogurts (ADY) was born. Without a need for refrigeration, ADY can be stored anywhere and enjoyed anytime. See why we’re making the case for long shelf-life drinking yogurt here.
Taste and texture are key – especially when trying to reach the flexitarian consumer and compete with traditional dairy counterparts for shelf space. Consumers expect plant-based, non-dairy yogurt alternatives to have all the great qualities of dairy – the same rich mouthfeel, texture and creaminess – even a similar appearance. Textural challenges can arise from the absence of milkfat as well as the natural grittiness of plant protein. Earthy or beany notes can also impact flavor.
Choosing The Right Stabilizer System
The true secret to achieving success in plant-based, non-dairy yogurt alternatives is choosing the right stabilizer system. It can help solve the most common challenges in both stirred and sippable formulations: syneresis control, suspension of insoluble particles and protein protection, in addition to contributing to texture, body and mouthfeel.
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 as it helps with flavor deliver.
KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum is a multifunctional, fermentation-derived ingredient for solving plant-based protein challenges, with a composition identical to the naturally occurring bacteria on water lily pond plants. 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.
The Health Halo
For its 2020 Top Ten Trends Survey, Innova Market Insights asked consumers around the globe why they chose to eat plant-based foods. Their top reasons included “it is healthier” and “it is better for the planet.” With a health halo adding to the growing interest in trying plant-based applications, a clean, recognizable label is also critical. Product developers should honor this perception of health and sustainability in their choice of stabilizers. Using nature-based ingredients such as GENU® Pectin and KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum will complement your plant proteins. Ask about grades available to meet claims of organic compliance, non-GMO, gluten-free and other clean label goals. Because of their multifunctional qualities, GENU® Pectin and KELCOGEL® Gellan Gum can also help formulators shorten their ingredient list overall.
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.
1 Innova; Global, CAGR 2015-2020 YTD
3 GlobalData 2020 Dairy Trend Report
4 Innova Nutrition & Health Survey 2020
5 Innova Market Insights