Next generation cheese: plant-based, delicious and healthy added value
Plant-based products are enjoying double-digit growth in their market share. As more and more people choose to follow a vegetarian diet or even cut out animal ingredients altogether, they are looking for more sustainability in their foods and beverages for their modern, healthy lifestyles. Although consumers are interested in plant-based foods, they want them to be as close as possible to the taste and sensory properties of traditional products, such as desserts and cheese. Moreover, they expect the products to provide functional added value. Consumers are therefore placing increasingly complex demands on their food and beverages.
Plant-based gaining in popularity
Around 29 percent of consumers worldwide are attempting to increase their consumption of plant-based proteins, while 40 percent pay active attention to vegetarian or plant-based nutrition. The term “plant-based” in general appeals to 72 percent.1
66 percent of those who already consume plant-based products in North and South America, and 65 percent of those in Europe, say that they are particularly interested in plant-based cheese.2 51 percent of consumers in Europe and 58 percent of consumers in North and South America state that they want to actively promote a healthy and health-conscious lifestyle by consuming dairy-free alternatives – as shown in two online studies by Döhler Sensory and Consumer Science (SCS), conducted in 2018 and 2019.3 The studies show that an average of 45 percent of consumers in North and South America consume plant-based products at least once a month; the figure for Europe is 47 percent.4 80 percent of these consumers in North and South America, and 74 percent in Europe, consume these foods at least two to three times per week.5
Plant-based cheese on the rise
Purely plant-based cheese currently accounts for around 2 percent of all market launches for cheese on the European market, with 40 percent of global turnover generated in Europe.
22 percent of the plant-based cheeses launched on the market globally are block cheeses.7 With a wide range of ingredients for dairy-free cheese, Doehler is serving the emergent market for plant-based block and sliced cheese. With its unique mixing technology and application experience, the company offers a functional powder mixture of texturizers, plant-based proteins, natural colours, spice preparations and natural flavours for plant-based cheese alternatives.
The block and sliced cheese impresses with an authentic look, a full mouthfeel and a natural taste that fully lives up to milk-based cheese – and appeals to the indulgent experience consumers know and love. The cheese also displays optimum melting properties, making it ideal for cooking, while plant-based proteins offer healthy added value.
Not only block and sliced cheeses, but also applications that correspond to the popular cream cheese, are emerging on the market for plant-based cheese varieties. Doehler offers a range of concepts based on almond, nut, seed, cashew or coconut, which are used to supply fats and to create a creamy mouthfeel. Additional plant-based proteins from chickpeas, beans or peas replace animal proteins and are therefore added as protein sources. They also provide a pleasant mouthfeel, a creamy texture and an optimum nutrient composition. The proteins are produced at special production sites – Doehler thus offers an extensive portfolio of tailor-made solutions for plant-based cream cheese-style products, including myriad spices and herbs for various taste and texture requirements. The portfolio is positioned as clean label.
Delicious alternatives to dairy products
Many consumers are already familiar with plant-based preparations in drinks, desserts and ice cream creations in particular, as an alternative to applications that are traditionally produced with milk. For example, consumers have already experienced the creamy texture with fresh, tropical taste for applications based on coconut, the nutty taste of almond-based preparations, and the mild sweetness when rice and oats are used – ideal for breakfast cereal.
Furthermore, consumers want to see products that can support a plant-based diet at every meal throughout the day – not just a sweet breakfast. If plant-based products are to succeed on the market, both their sensory profile and their excellent nutritional value need to impress. A particularly effective way for them to do this is to offer the consumer a taste and texture experience comparable to that of the traditional product, so as to build on familiar, learned properties.
Plant-based ingredients for an ideal nutritional profile
Consumers demand food and beverages that not only deliver good taste and sustainable production, but also added value for body and mind. Numerous functional and healthy ingredients, such as plant-based proteins, powders, nuts and seeds, can be used in food and beverages to meet this requirement – such as in the aforementioned sliced and block cheese varieties and the cream cheese-style products.
The new Optifine Powders from Doehler also support a plant-based, nutrient-rich diet. Starting from a wide range of plants, gentle processing methods are used to protect the healthy nutrients in the plants in the best possible way, to retain their natural composition and deliver functional added value – which is why the powders are also called full-spectrum powders. These powders are particularly highly soluble and ideal for foods and food supplements, beverages such as smoothies, drinks and yoghurts.
Extensive product portfolio for plant-based applications
Doehler provides numerous natural ingredients for a wide range of applications that taste just as good to consumers as familiar foods based on milk or with animal ingredients. The company’s profile includes plant-based ingredients for natural and multi-sensory flavours and colours, powders, botanical extracts and an extensive selection of herbs and spices, offering the ideal basis for developing numerous plant-based cheese variations. These ingredients can also be used in tea and coffee beverages, juices and juice concentrates, spoonables, desserts, ice cream, baked goods, confectionery, and savoury foods and beverages. Depending on the recipe, an application’s taste profile can be further refined with fruit components or natural flavours to create an optimised nutritional profile with optimum taste and ideal texture.
As a provider of complete ingredient systems and integrated solutions, Doehler’s primary focus is on the development of innovative concepts. In line with the company slogan, “We bring ideas to life.”, Doehler develops custom complete solutions, processes and innovations for its customers – from the field to the supermarket shelves.