Mayo 2.0: Health trend embraced as vegan NPD accelerates

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02 Oct 2017 --- In Europe, the mayonnaise market is seeing Heinz challenge Unilever’s market-leading Hellmann’s brand in the UK with the 2016 launch of Heinz (Seriously) Good Mayonnaise, which replaced the previous Heinz mayo. It is packaged in an urn-shaped jar with a premium positioning and saw strong promotional activity following its introduction. Within six months, it was in the top 10 UK table sauce brands, having gained sales of nearly £6m (US$8m), although it remained well behind Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise in second place with £63m (US$84.2m) and Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise in third place with £31m (US$41.4m).

General global food trends  are geared toward health and wellness, the use of high-quality ingredients and naturalness to name a few. It’s no different for mayonnaise. Consumers are increasingly adopting vegan diets, not only for animal welfare issues but also for health or environmental reasons. Similar to the vegetarian trend, some consumers choose to become purely vegan, a flexible vegan or just exchange certain products for the healthier versions. This is giving food manufacturers plenty of good opportunities for new product launches, particularly in the mayonnaise category, where the reduction of egg as an ingredient and on-pack vegan claim, is becoming increasingly common.

Products using vegan claims accounted for just 7 percent of US launches of mayonnaise, dressings and vinegar in 2016 and the majority of these were still liquid or pourable dressings. Spoonable options are starting to appear, however, led by Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo egg-free mayonnaise, first introduced in California in 2013. During 2016, however, we not only saw the arrival of Fabanaise but also a vegan option from Unilever under the Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread name, as well as brands such as Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise and Dr Fuhrman’s Nuttynaise.

Navigating the mayonnaise maze can be tricky for food developers and last month, Tetra Pak came up with its latest white paper to highlight the challenges and guide manufacturers on how to get high-quality and vegan products to the market as quickly as possible.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, food processing specialist at Tetra Pak, Hans Henrik Mortensen explained the development of producing egg-free mayonnaise. “We don’t develop products (recipes), but we offer the technology and process that will, for sure, handle various product requirements and needs. The egg-free options are not unique but can be handled by our mixer and methods,” says Mortensen.

Mortensen lists the current trends as follows: “Health and wellness with reduced fat, salt and sugar content. Naturality, as consumers are concerned about what is in their foods, how are they made and where the ingredients come from.”

“Highlighting certain ingredients that are premium or has high-quality ingredients,” he continues. “Free-from is important because consumer avoids certain foods due to allergy, sensitiveness or because of a lifestyle choice. Convenience is also important, so this is time-saving products, easy to prepare and consume.”

Click to EnlargeThe consumer demands for low-calorie products with the same taste and feel as calorie-rich versions are well-known, he adds, but this is where navigating the complexities of mayonnaise production is very important.

“Lowering the amount of oil in an otherwise standard mayonnaise will lead to a less dense packing of the dispersed oil droplets and thereby to reduced viscosity and texture,” he states.

“Various thickening and gelling compounds can, therefore, be added to the water phase to match the viscosity and texture of traditional mayonnaise. Starch is frequently used but other hydrocolloids are also common.” You can read the full interview here.

Agreeing with this notion, Mark Ahern, EMEA Technical Manager at Univar says that people are becoming more discernable not only in what they are eating but also the texture the mouthfeel of these products. “Those are the differentiators that we are seeing – people want low-fat mayonnaise that tastes as indulgent as full-fat mayonnaise. They want a low cost but they still want the texture and mouthfeel of that rich indulgent condiment that they know and love.”

“We are starting to do a lot more work in this area, so we are able to tweak textures and mouthfeel so they become more differentiated but still become very close to what the target is,” he explains. 

“When removing fat/oil, the mouthfeel, palate-coating and creaminess of a mayonnaise/dressing changes; these sensations generally reduce and are seen as detrimental to the final product. In addition, the removal of egg not only influences mouthfeel, color and flavor – it impacts the emulsion stability,” Ahern tells FoodIngredientsFirst

“Using our wide portfolio of clean label and modified starches, the characteristics provided by oil can be built back into the system especially mouthfeel, palate-coating and creaminess; the choice of starch is dependent upon the market demands of the region. In countries where modified starch is permitted, it could simply be a change in chemical modification such as replacing E1422 with E1442 or in cold manufacturing processes changing from a drum-dried starch to a spray-dried starch.” 

In the event that changing the base viscosifying starch does not provide the desired final product, the use of co-texturizers will enhance the final product. Co-texturizers are used working synergistically with the viscosifying to build back mouthfeel and palate coating; dosage levels depend on the amount of impact desired typically 0.5-1%, co-texturizers are available with both modified starch label declaration e.g. N-Dulge 316 and clean label e.g. Novation Indulge 3920. “The use of lipid-rich whole algal from our new partner company TerraVia will build back the indulgent mouthfeel while maintaining clean label status and meeting vegan requirements,” he adds.

“When removing egg from emulsified sauces and mayonnaise, the stability of the final product is jeopardized due to loss of the emulsifying element; this can be re-established by use of chemically modified starches with E-number E1450 such as N-Creamer 2230 and N-Creamer 2111, the dosage level is dependent upon oil level to be emulsified but typically 0.5-1.5%,” Ahern continues. “Clean label emulsification is more of a challenge, however, a solution is now available using Vitessence Pulse 3600; this is a product from our pulse product range based on faba bean.”

Elsewhere, KaTech has developed a wide range of vegan products to help food manufacturers launch high-quality products for the growing vegan trend. The growing popularity of new product development on a vegan platform is substantiated by new product launch data from Innova Market Insights, with a +58 percent increase reported in product launches with a vegan claim in 2015 from 2014, with a further +35 percent increase in 2016 from 2015.Click to Enlarge

“We have seen a growing demand from food manufacturers for development in the vegan segment,” explains Cyril Carrat, Technical Director of KaTech. “The consumer of today is less compromising on taste and texture and that is where we can show our expertise by developing products that represent a step-change in both quality and appeal.”

Head of development at KaTech, Alexander Maesse, tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “We can see strong growth in meat and dairy alternatives as well as plant-based spreads. The next big trend we believe will be in baked goods, as there is currently not a lot of choice in high-quality baked vegan produce.”

The focus for NPD’s in the vegan category cover yogurt, desserts, drinks, cheese and cream products. In the fine-food area, the developments are vegan salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces and spreads, as well as in vegan meat alternatives. Food manufacturers are indeed accommodating this lifestyle trend with many products promoting their plant content, with claims such as “plant powered” or “plant-based” being prominent front-of-pack.

By Elizabeth Green

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