Plant-based but Buonissimo : Dairy-free sensory experience concepts
We’re always looking forward when it comes to product inspiration concepts. This is why our Italian colleagues in Padua have been busy developing some great plant-based ice cream and cheese* analogue ideas that have potential across the EMEA region.
The continued growth in demand for vegan and vegetarian alternatives and the recent surge in plant-based options is taking the European food industry by storm. Innova Market Insights reports that Europe remains the most active region for plant-based** claims on new products, accounting for 43 percent of launches in 2019, just ahead of North America (40 percent). In fact, the market researcher notes that one in two dairy alternative launches reported globally in 2019 was tracked in Europe, with 86 percent more new launches taking place in the region in 2019 than in 2015.
Even in the highly traditional market of Italy, the rise in demand for plant-based alternatives has been profound. Research from Eurispes (2019), finds that over 7% of Italians consider themselves to be “vegetarian” or “vegan.” More significantly still, many others – the so-called flexitarians – are occasionally going for the vegan or vegetarian option. It’s part of a broader free from trend, where 19% of Italians are opting for gluten-free products and 26% are going lactose-free. Trend conscious product developers are all too happy to step in and meet their needs.
These technical hurdles were overcome through the careful blending of potato protein, a small amount of rice protein, a functional native starch, and a conventional functional emulsifier system. “The potato protein used has very specific and useful properties that allow you to achieve the key properties of traditional dairy ice cream,” Francesco notes. “You can obtain a medium high overrun at the freezer, without any aftertaste,” he adds.
Mouthfeel concerns were overcome through the addition of a small amount of specific rice protein. Since a neutral base flavor was chosen that is close to vanilla, virtually any flavor can be inserted into the concept to create a great ice cream sensory experience – but without the milk! This concept line can be used in all production facilities, industrial plants or artisanal labs, and tailored towards different production or recipe needs.
Simone Bavaresco, Food Application & Development Center Manager, Brenntag Food & Nutrition Italy, notes that the biggest challenge that the developers had to overcome in this case related to taste and texture. “Through the careful combinations of vegetable flours, starches, fibers, and flavors, we were able to create cheese* alternatives that deliver on taste, aroma and mouthfeel, and which are suitable for fresh usage or for use in a wide variety of dishes,” he notes.
The new formulations deliver very stable products without significant syneresis phenomena or texture changes up to end of shelf-life, and with no oiling-off or syneresis during cooking. Furthermore, they can be fortified with calcium and dietary fibers, as well as other high nutritional principles to enrich the final products.
Get in touch today and let’s see what’s possible for your next plant-based innovation.
* The designations "milk" and "cheese" are to be seen here as placeholders for suitable product descriptions of the herbal substitute product. The regulatory provisions of EU Regulation 1308/2013 must be observed.
**Plant-based = products with the terms “plant based,” “plant-based,” or “100% plant” on the packaging.
*** Gorgonzola is a protected designation of origin (PDO)