Sector News

DuPont promises to “expand innovation beyond imitation” with new meat and dairy-free solutions

July 2, 2020
Food & Drink

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences (N&B) has launched a new eco-centric brand designed for the co-creation of plant-based beverages, dairy alternatives, meat, fish and seafood – Danisco Planit.

Meat shortages throughout the COVID-19 pandemic are noted by company executives as having an upswing effect on the appetite for meatless offerings.

As this grows more prominent, the diversification of products is now key for meat and dairy alternatives producers to retain this viability, the company notes.

“We won the niche markets with burgers without meat and milkshakes without milk, and opened consumers’ minds about how good plant-based can be. Now it’s time for the mass market, which has incredibly high standards and expects delicious food for every occasion and time of day. Now it’s time for the next wave of innovation. The plant-based opportunity is enormous, but the bar is high,” Amy Byrick, Food & Beverage Global Business Leader at DuPont N&B, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

What is unique about our ingredients under Danisco Planit is the breadth of our portfolio, supporting every step of the development process in dairy alternatives (fermentation, enrichment, stabilization and material optimization) and meat alternatives (appearance, texture, food protection and nutrition).”

In terms of specific starring ingredients, DuPont N&B’s newly unveiled portfolio comprises unique performing plant proteins (Supro and Tupro), an extensive range of cultures designed for plant-based applications (Danisco DuPont Vege cultures) and tailor-made stabilizer systems (Vegedan).

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic and correlated meat shortages is noted by Byrick as having an unprecedented effect on the protein alternatives space. “Plant-based is becoming mainstream all over the world. COVID-19-related shortages on real meat drove non-users to try (and possibly stay with) plant-based. Therefore, COVID-19 is boosting the demand of plant-based food and could accelerate consumers’ shift to a more balanced diet.”

According to a European Consumer Survey (2020) from the vegan and vegetarian association ProVeg International, meat reducers are keen to see more plant-based cheeses, ready meals and meat alternatives cropping up on supermarket shelves. However, market opportunities lie beyond expanded horizons, as Byrick notes. “We see an untapped opportunity in terms of extending plant-based food and beverages to further eating occasions, new formats, new categories and better eating experiences – going beyond imitating animal-derived products.”

“The depth of what we can offer our customers is unique in the industry,” says Birgitte Borch, VP of Marketing, Food & Beverage, DuPont N&B. “Danisco Planit is a significant launch for us. We offer a total ingredient solution with the ability to deliver taste, texture, nutrition and sustainability. We believe in co-creation and look forward to innovating new formats and categories with our customers to widen the food space and create great eating experiences for the growing group of global consumers that want to increase their plant-based consumption.”

Mainstream or bust
Recent years saw a race to widen the shelfspace of plant-based offerings in supermarkets. Diversifying product offerings is now key for meat and dairy alternatives producers to retain this viability. “The market innovation for products that allow consumers to eat a burger without eating meat, drink a milkshake without drinking milk, have been impressive. For the mass market consumer however, we want to do more,” says Borch.

“Mainstream consumers are not only looking to avoid meat or dairy, they are looking for a great eating experience. In order to take plant-based mainstream, we need to expand innovation beyond imitation. We want to support the shift to a more plant-based diet by creating multiple options, thereby enabling nutritious, plant-based food and beverages in every meal, every day – from early-bird breakfast to the midnight snack,” she highlights.

Borch sees diversified plant-based options as an opportunity for the industry to address consumers’ changing eating habits. “We believe co-creation is the route to shape the market and capture fast-evolving consumer needs for every eating occasion. We want to create sustainable consumer loyalty, ensuring that plant-based products are loved and tasty enough to become a regular part of consumers’ diets, not just a ‘try it once.’”

Meatless movement surges on
The “Plant-Based Revolution,” a top trend for 2020 pegged by Innova Market Insights, is evidently in full swing. The movement enjoys new momentum in markets that are only just beginning to catch on to a theme that is already rapidly gaining a foothold in North American and European retail channels.

As industry grapples with financial volatility throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, alternative proteins are gaining ground in the Asian market amid an influx of investment in the plant-based and cellular agriculture spaces.

The plant-based revolution is adjunctly heating up the enzyme space, as in Novozymes’ recent launch of two new enzymes that enable food manufacturers to produce meat alternatives with less salt and a clean label. Adjunctly, the clean label colors industry is enjoying an upswing thanks to diversified plant-based options, according to GNT Group, makers of natural vegetable-based “Coloring Foods,” branded as Exberry.

In other recent headlines, Quorn commissioned a new piece of research as part of the World Meat Free Week (June 15-21) surveying 1,500 British participants. The meat substitute brand revealed the prevalence of couples and families secretly cooking a meat-free meal without telling loved ones that it is actually plant-based.

By: Benjamin Ferrer

Source: Food Ingredients First

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