Bell unveils masking solutions for flavor elevation in European plant-based formulas
12 Apr 2021 --- Bell Flavors & Fragrances has launched a portfolio of functional flavors, Plant Future. The neutral masking solutions were developed to aid European manufacturers in mitigating specific off-notes, while creating a more neutral and appealing sensory profile in plant-based dairy, meat and fish alternatives.
Some plant proteins generate unwanted bitter or beany off-notes or lack specific sensory attributes, making them less appealing for consumers, notes the flavor house.
While mimicking the classic flavor profiles of animal-based produce is a target among meat and fish substitutes, dairy alternatives are often evaluated against an overall creamy and milky texture and taste profile.
“We aim to provide functional flavor solutions based on the respective off-tastes of the various plant protein sources,” Agneta Hoffmann, marketing manager of flavors at Bell, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“For instance, soy often has a beany, oxidized or even bitter off-note, while oats usually have a cereal note or grainy off-tastes,” she notes. “Our team has invested a lot of resources to identify the specific off-notes and their sensory effects within the various applications.”
“In the case of oat drinks, for example, our masking flavor highlights the creaminess, the milky taste and adds a slight sweetness.”
A plethora of plant-based applications
Bell’s team of flavorists and sensory experts investigated specific flavors that help achieve rounded taste characteristics, such as full-bodied umami, meaty notes or creamy profiles.
The experts identified the potential off-tastes of various protein sources, including soy, wheat, pea, rice, oat, almond and coconut. Primary focuses were studying the ingredients’ organoleptic effects on taste and other characteristics, including texture and mouthfeel.
Flavor solutions in Plant Future are designed for dairy alternative drinks, yogurts and ice cream, next to meat substitutes such as burger patties or nuggets, and fish substitutes.
Targeting the growing market for plant-based high protein and sports nutrition products, Bell is also focusing on delivering authentic and natural masking profiles for high protein powder shakes and high protein bars.
Bell’s regional organizations further comprise a range of vegan flavor varieties for the US market, as well as Canada and Latin America.
Plant-based revolutions surges on
With more consumers avoiding animal protein, plant-based diets have evolved beyond traditional vegetarian and vegan consumers and are moving into mainstream – substantially driven by flexitarianism and younger consumer groups.
“Although the plant-based industry is still at an early stage in many categories, it is recording rapid growth,” notes Hoffman. “Product launches have accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic and evolve fast beyond the classic niche categories.”
“Hence, plant-based innovation is representing a huge opportunity for brands and own labels alike to tap into new segments,” she continues.
“Providing a variety of plant-based choices to consumers that target different eating occasions and can be easily integrated into their everyday food choices is a solid approach to help consumers do good for both, their health and the planet.”
Next to an increasing health awareness, motivations for plant-based diets primarily include environmental concerns and a focus on sustainability as well as food safety and animal welfare.
At the same time, novelty factors and a growing, multi-facetted range of choices along the supermarket aisle continue to drive up consumer interest, Bell maintains.
In a recent Special Report on new developments in the flavor market, Bell highlighted that in addition to these trends, consumers are more actively seeking out F&B NPD that promotes well-being, including mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.
By Benjamin Ferrer
To contact our editorial team please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subscribe now to receive the latest news directly into your inbox.