Why are consumers increasingly adopted more plant-based diets – what have been the key drivers?
Charlotte Bonnet: “Consumers are increasingly adopting plant-based diets due to a range of factors. The first key driver is that a growing number of people wish to stop or at least limit their meat consumption for health reasons, to avoid various diseases or cancers. They perceive plant-based foods to be better for their health.
Many consumers are also becoming more and more concerned about sustainability, and about how their behaviour impacts the environment. As a result, they are looking for food options with which they can limit their carbon footprint. And finally, some consumers are increasingly concerned about animal welfare. All these factors have led to profound dietary changes. The number of flexitarians for example is growing faster than the number of vegetarians and vegans.”
What food sectors have been leading the trend?
Christelle Mouteyen-Migaud: “The sectors which have been leading the plant-based trend have been meat analogues, especially burgers and patties, and dairy analogues, such as milk and yoghurt. These are the two sectors where animal proteins can be replaced.”
Which sectors in particular do you see potential for further plant-based ingredient growth?
Christelle Mouteyen-Migaud: “Consumers are gradually looking for alternatives to all existing animal-based products. Cheese analogues, desserts and ice creams are already set for growth across EMEA. The number of product launches has not stopped increasing since 2016.
The next big category will be fish and seafood. Other categories are still small in terms of NPD, but also have potential to grow. These include egg analogues, butter substitutes, cakes and pastries, to name but a few.”
What are some key consumer concerns when it comes to meat analogues?
Charlotte Bonnet: “While keen to turn to animal-based product alternatives, consumers still have high expectations in terms of taste. They want plant-based food that mimics existing products in terms of taste, texture, chewiness, smell, but they also want nutritional profile, clean label, naturalness and minimally-processed food.”
Could you identify some of the formulation challenges to delivering what consumers want?
Francisco Andre: “We would advise formulators to look for clean label and natural ingredients. In meat or cheese analogues, getting the right taste, smell or nutritional profile can be done using yeast ingredients, for example. Use yeast extracts and inactive dried yeasts for their organoleptic properties, or yeast proteins to get a product with a balanced nutritional profile.”
Could you explain some of the ways that Biospringer can help formulators overcome these challenges?
Francisco Andre: “Our Culinary Center can help formulators to select the most suited yeast ingredients depending on the product they are developing. Thanks to the amazing natural properties and composition of yeast, our yeast-based ingredients offer multiple benefits when developing a meat analogue. For example, they can intensify meat profiles, create meaty notes, bring meaty and roasted notes, mask off-notes and improve the nutritional profile of a recipe.”
Finally, what are some of the key lessons, or knowledge you hope attendees will take away from your presentation?
Christelle Mouteyen-Migaud: “That meat analogues, among other plant-based foods, are here to stay. Consumers want them to be as close as their animal-based counterparts, and they want tasty, natural and healthy food. Yeast ingredients are the ideal way to answer all these expectations.”