Diversifying the plant-based portfolio

By Christian Philippsen, managing director, BENEO, Asia Pacific

From what once was a fad consisting of plant-based meat patties has now turned into a lifestyle for consumers. Following this, the plant-based portfolio has tremendously expanded in recent years to include a variety of everyday products for consumers to fit their daily needs.

This expansion has come on the back of the adoption of the flexitarian diet, with one in four consumers globally now identifying as flexitarians1, according to BENEO’s plant-based consumer survey. The survey also found that Asia is seen to be leading the way, with 28% of consumers describing their diet as flexitarian2. Therefore, having a comprehensive understanding of this target group is crucial for manufacturers looking to tap into the opportunities in the market.

Additionally, the study discovered that the primary drivers for flexitarians purchasing meat and dairy alternatives3 centred around how natural the ingredients are, whether they help consumers take care of their bodies, and the variety they deliver to their diets. It is not surprising that taste also emerged as a leading factor for repeat purchases.

Broadening the plant-based toolbox

Recent advancements by ingredient manufacturers have enabled the plant-based market to evolve immensely, with alternatives having a similar taste and texture to original foods — a crucial factor for consumers, especially flexitarians, when selecting plant-based options.

One such advancement is the development of BeneoPro W-Tex, a textured wheat protein which can be used in a wide range of applications and is especially ideal for use in meat analogue products. It contains at least 65% protein (on dry matter) and has a unique alveolar structure that allows for the development of a meat-like juicy texture. The protein only takes five to 15 minutes to hydrate, eliminating the need for long soaking durations and making it convenient for production. In addition to enabling the creation of meat-free products with a meaty texture and a granular, fibrous structure, BeneoPro W-Tex can be flavoured with a variety of tastes, herbs, and spices — making it a flexible meat substitute.

As the appetite for a more diverse range of plant-based foods continues to grow, a wider variety of meat and fish alternatives are now being created. To meet this increase in demand, food manufacturers are seeking ingredients with more versatility to increase their plant-based product’s organoleptic profile (its taste, sight, smell, and touch), as well as texture. In order to really create a convincing organoleptic profile, it is often about the combination of different plant-based ingredient solutions. To assist in this process, BENEO has a broad toolbox of ingredients available, with the more recent portfolio extensions being faba bean protein concentrates.  

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