Stern-Wywiol boosted by Hydrosol vegan solutions innovation

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19 Sep 2017 --- Hamburg-based Stern-Wywiol Gruppe experienced double-digit growth in 2016 with revenues of €464 million (US$553 million) and its Hydrosol subsidiary has made an important contribution to this continued positive balance. As a specialist in stabilizing and texturing systems, in recent years the company has grown to become one of the leading suppliers of stabilizing systems on the international market. In Europe, the company is in the top 3 in the category.

Hydrosol has made a name for itself worldwide with custom solutions for dairy products, deli foods, meat and fish products. Most importantly, the company has demonstrated a nose for leading-edge trends. As early as 2009 Hydrosol presented clean label solutions at the Food Ingredients Europe trade fair. Innova Market Insights presented the “Flexitarian Effect” as one of the top trends in 2016, but Hydrosol had already been offering all-in compounds for vegetarian and vegan meat alternatives since 2014. 

Hydrosol's new stabilizing and texturing system comes at a time when all types of consumers, not just vegans, are looking for innovative product options to reduce their meat intake. 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 in product launches recorded with a vegan claim in 2015 from 2014, with a further 35 percent increase in 2016 from 2015. New product innovation with vegan suitability is not likely to be slowing down in the foreseeable future, with plant-based milk and meat substitutes already rapidly moving into the mainstream.

Dr. Carsten Carstens, Head of Product Development Meat Products, Hydrosol believes that millennials are partially responsible for this surge in vegan produce. He told FoodIngredientsFirst: “Millennials set high priority on health, animal welfare and the respectful and efficient treatment of natural resources.”

“We will soon see more end products that no longer try to look, smell and taste like real meat, but new vegan standalone product categories like vegan leek nuggets etc. Moreover, also vegan products will more and more have to meet consumer expectations regarding convenience, snackability, out-of-house-consumption etc.,” he notes. “We expect end consumers to increasingly ask for certain qualities or more innovative forms of protein like sunflower protein, for example.”

“Safeguarding the global food supply is closely connected with finding tasty and nutritious alternatives to meat,” he explains. “And as we know, the world's population is still rising.”

“Moreover, millennials are responsible for a profound change of values in our society and a shift towards a less resource- and energy-intensive lifestyle,” Carstens continues, “That makes it clear that the vegan trend is not a short-term phenomenon.”

Having said that, Carstens believes that globally, meat consumption is rising at a significant rate. 

The company develops its innovative stabilizing and texturing systems based on a detailed knowledge of the raw materials available on the world market and how they interact with each other. “Our core competency lies in the targeted combination of functional components,” says Dr. Matthias Moser, CEO of Hydrosol. Click to Enlarge

“An understanding of the interactions between hydrocolloids, proteins, fiber, enzymes and other ingredients is the key to quality results. We see time and again that these synergistic complexes give much better results than single ingredients. Our broad capabilities in applications technology are thus elementary to our successful product solutions.” 

Current developments by this creative company include stabilizing and texturing systems for the production of vegan nuggets, burger patties, and schnitzel, as well as functional systems for the economic production of cheese preparations and recombination.

With new, tailor-made solutions for the manufacture of poultry products, Hydrosol customers can participate in the worldwide growth of this segment. Another innovation is functional raw materials complexes for the sustainable processing of rennet and acid whey into high-value dairy products like pudding desserts, beverages and fermented products that can be used as alternatives to yogurt and sour cream. 

The passion and creativity of the company’s staff are very important to its success. As Dr. Moser reports: “One of our strengths is our low fluctuation. Our domestic and foreign customers have the same contact persons at Hydrosol for many years. With the resulting long, trusting relationships, our people are very familiar with the individual needs of each customer. This enables them to deliver custom-tailored service and fast solutions to problems – in person at the client’s location if necessary.” 

Flat hierarchies are a matter of course at Hydrosol. According to Dr. Moser, they help maintain high motivation and a sense of responsibility. Torsten Wywiol, CEO of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, is proud of the special corporate culture: “Each company in our group retains its autonomy. And most importantly, we offer our employees the greatest possible freedom. We’re a family-run company, and as in every good family, innovative ideas can thrive only in a stimulating and partnering atmosphere.”

By Elizabeth Green

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