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Current Position:Home » News » Food Technology » Topic

Symrise adopts a new approach for alternative protein sources

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2018-12-21  Views: 22
Core Tip: Symrise is seeking to address the global trend towards meat-free alternatives, offering taste profiles while keeping the indulgence factor.
Symrise is seeking to address the global trend towards meat-free alternatives, offering taste profiles while keeping the indulgence factor. The company is adopting a new approach in creating appealing taste profiles for vegetarian and vegan food products. Using novel technological equipment, Symrise is seeking to develop individual solutions and configure the texture, appearance, juiciness, mouthfeel and taste for a variety of alternative protein-based product

In the Symrise Protein Center of Excellence at its headquarters in Holzminden, Germany, flavorists, food technologists and chefs are developing authentic taste solutions for products based on alternative proteins, for consumers looking to eat less meat, or for those who follow a meat-free diet.

Consumers increasingly want to eat meat-free products that taste good. Today’s health-minded consumers eat meat-free foods for a variety of reasons, including concern for animal welfare, a desire for healthier food and adding variety to their diets.

Frank Hoeving, Vice President Category Culinary EAME, Flavor Division at Symrise says: “There are many sources of alternative proteins, many of which have ‘off-tastes,’ including bitterness, cardboard aromas, astringency or a combination thereof.”

“Although consumers are driven by health, ethical and economic reasons for reducing their meat consumption, they require authentic, good tasting food and will not opt for something mediocre,” he claims.

“We need to understand the technical challenges of the protein bases (which can be different depending on the source material) and ensure that bad tastes are masked and authentic tastes are enhanced, to give the alternative protein product a chance to succeed with consumers,” notes Hoeving.

According to Hoeving, there is plenty of activity with customers on pea protein concepts and Symrise already has some good results within this area.

“Our expertise lies in developing concepts with taste that consumers love, while ensuring that they are in line with their expectations of naturalness and sustainability,” he adds.

Looking to 2019, Hoeving expects to see product launches “with completely revamped traditional concepts like plant protein burger patties and completely new offerings, such as culinary protein meals with appetizing tastes, inspired by the Indian vegetarian cuisine,” he says.

He does expect the trend for plant-based foods to be “long-term and with steady growth.”

Hybrid meat produce is currently trading up from what was historically seen as inferior to something premium and value-added, he comments. “We believe that there will be an attractive niche for such products in future,” Hoeving claims firmly.

Most of what we call alternative protein is plant-based, but Hoeving sees other protein sources, like insects, coming to the fore: “A lot of work with consumers will be necessary to overcome existing consumption barriers – many consumers cannot simply imagine eating insects at present.”

Plant-based proteins are trending and 2018 has marked serious growth in vegan product development.

Vegan eating patterns have emerged from a relatively niche position to one gaining increasing attention among consumers, the media and the food and beverage industry. New food and beverage launches with a vegan positioning found an average annual growth rate of 45 percent globally (CAGR 2013-17) when 2013 is used as a base of 100, Innova Market Insights analysis has shown.

There is, however, still space for innovation as demand for vegan shows no signs of slowing down. Gravitation towards plant-based diets in general, along with interest in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyles as well as concerns over animal welfare, have together served to increase interest and NPD in plant-based meat alternatives has subsequently seen an 11 percent (CAGR 2013-2017) increase, according to the market researcher.

Innova Market Insights has hotly tipped “The Plant Kingdom” as its number two top trend for 2019, reflecting how vegan inspired eating continues to go mainstream.

As part of The Plant Kingdom trend prediction, the market researcher states that “the plant-based market shows no signs of slowing down and companies and brands are greening up their portfolios to attract mainstream consumers who want to add more plant-based options to their diets. For the mainstream consumer, going plant-based is about achieving a healthy and sustainable balance between meat and vegetables, rather than adopting an all-or-nothing way of eating.”

However, if consumers are to choose alternative protein-based products, these have to overcome sensory and taste challenges. “With this in mind, we have been actively engaged with consumer motives and have derived preferences regarding meat-free products from them,” explains Eva Scholten, Marketing Manager Culinary EAME at Symrise.

Vegan and vegetarian products need to do a lot: first and foremost, provide a juicy texture, a pleasant mouthfeel, spice, bite and even grill notes. Depending on the consumption, motive, requirements for natural and fresh ingredients in a product can also affect purchase choices. That is why there is a need to create new products in a variety of categories – a brand new generation that can do more than provide an alternative to previously-preferred meat variants. Consumers want a first-choice product with taste without compromise, says Scholten.

Symrise provides products made of pea, soy or rice proteins with a taste profile that includes all the preferred aspects. Onion is one of the most important suppliers of taste and a core competency at Symrise, says the company.

Along with herbs, spices and a variety of notes that provide meaty attributes, Symrise relies on a wide assortment of vegan taste solutions that fulfill consumer desires for more naturalness. The company uses advanced technologies to develop savory base notes meeting all preferred aspects for alternative protein-based products, in a cost-efficient and integrated answer to the global challenge.

From consumer preferences, creativity and intensive research to culinary innovations

At the Protein Center of Excellence in Holzminden, food application technologists have developed taste solutions for selected market-relevant end products. Whether in burger patties of quinoa and pea proteins, hot dogs or falafel, Symrise tests every taste solution for its effects on the culinary end product and refines them according to consumer preferences. In addition to tangible results for its customers in the form of vegan finished products, the taste experts also incorporate individual customer formulas into their development of applicable product and taste solutions.

Heinrich Schaper, President of Flavors at Symrise summarizes the approach: “With our integrated taste solutions, we are contributing to the introduction of more sustainable ingredients in people’s diet. In this way, we’re meeting the global challenge of population growth and dwindling resources, while at the same time fulfilling changing dietary preferences.”
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