The current food revolution and new gastronomy need appealing and tasty products to make plant-based alternatives a daily routine and a common way to eat. Jeremy Burks, senior vice president of Plant Proteins at Roquette, speaks to FoodIngredientsFirst about the major themes shaping this new sector, and the “dazzling array of cuisines” expected to shake up the space.
To accelerate this trend, Roquette recently launched the Innovation Challenge to recognize the efforts of creative and limitless start-ups that are key to developing tomorrow’s food.
With the broadest range of pea protein globally, Roquette is targeting food innovators by developing revolutionary cuisines which “bring new gastronomic experiences.”
Targeting the global food revolution
To reinforce its position serving the global food revolution, Roquette has engaged in an investment program to ensure that the supply of plant protein is secure, safe and sustainable.
This program includes expanding the existing plant in Vic-sur-Aisne, France, the investment in a textured plant protein plant in Horst, the Netherlands and the construction of the world’s largest pea protein plant in Portage la Prairie, Canada.
Burks says the demand for plant-based protein will continue to rise as people become more aware of healthy eating and caring for the environment.
“Our 40 years experience in plant proteins allows us to create ingredients of the highest quality that make it possible for our customers to develop new foods that are contributing to the renaissance of a whole new gastronomy that consumers are seeking to explore.”
“This new cuisine brings new tastes, new textures and whole new gastronomic experiences, which rely on plant-based ingredients that respond to a booming global demand for food that is better for people and the planet,” he underscores.
Both new and traditional recipes will be developed with plant-based products.
“With the new gastronomy, consumers will have the possibility to choose alternative plant-based meals without any change in their food habits. Plant-based Bolognese, pizza, crab cake or cheese will offer this new gastronomic experience,” Burks states.
Burks adds that the options can be “integrated seamlessly in daily diets and dishes.”
Many foods will be available as plant-based versions when mimicking animal-based food with the same organoleptic acceptance by consumers. They will be available in at-home cooking, packaged food and restaurant concepts, he adds.
Journey of discovery
The development of this new gastronomy will also imply an extensive journey of discovery, and Roquette is “enthusiastically looking forward to working with the many customers who are entering this market and bringing a dazzling array of new cuisines.”
The alternative proteins and plant-based foods is an incredibly vibrant space, affirms Burks.
The last few years have shown a further acceleration for more diversified finished plant-based products answering consumer needs in terms of nutrition, taste and sustainability, he underscores.
“This year, there are several new highlights on competitors coming into the marketplace but as well a strong increase in the demand for plant-based protein.”
Many consumers want to find alternatives to animal protein in their diets, especially if they can do it without sacrificing taste.
“In just the past few years, alternative plant-based proteins have moved from a niche product to a mainstream phenomenon,” Burks continues.
“Plant-based meats are now in fast food around the world as well available in regular supermarkets, plant-based milk appears widely in fridges across North America.”
Many consumers want to find alternatives to animal protein in their diets.
Investing in future health
According to Burks, major consumer behaviors have a significant impact on the sector and its investments.
“It’s wise to maintain and reinforce this leadership position and to continue to be a key player in the current global food revolution,” he notes.
“With plants in the two largest pea-producing countries, we are well-positioned to meet the growing global demand for pea protein around the world and to contribute to a new plant-based gastronomy.”
Notably, plant-based milk and meat alternatives are increasingly popular with consumers.
“This category enjoyed tremendous growth, and this can also be explained by the diversity of milk alternatives offerings, such as soy, oat and almond milks.”
Meanwhile, Burks says the meat alternative holds significant potential as it represents only 2 percent of the total volume of meat. “Similarly to dairy, growth will come with a more diversified offer.”
Pork holds a major potential after developments that have been made on beef and chicken, he adds.
“Diversity will also come from the format of these meat substitutes. Processed alternative meat analogs such patties, sausages and nuggets formats are already quite advanced in terms of market reach.”
Further, the development of whole cuts products is also forecast to unlock a major potential market. “Whole cuts will offer alternative products for the fresh meat that is 224 million metric tons, annually.”
He adds that other applications such as cheese, yogurt, eggs also have a “significant potential” for plant-based offerings.
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