“Demand for soy in Europe is declining,” says Hydrosol as alternative proteins come to fore
14 Feb 2020 --- Ingredients derived from peas, potatoes or fava beans are challenging soy’s market share in the meat analog industry. The latest varieties of plant proteins offer new textures, tastes and nutritional profiles, which can be used to texturize or stabilize a range of products. As the market for plant-based products is showing double-digit growth, alternatives to soy are opening up plant-based options to consumers who suffer from food allergies, according to Hydrosol. The company is responding with innovative approaches to create plant-based alternatives to meat, which are both clean label and allergen-free.
“Due to the GMO issue and its allergenic potential, the demand for soy in Europe is declining sharply,” says Florian Bark, Product Manager at Hydrosol. “In its place, protein sources like peas, potatoes and fava beans are coming to the fore, along with newer sources like chickpeas, sunflower and algae. For example, we use these proteins in our plant-based meat and sausage alternatives.”
The “Plant-Based Revolution” is not just one of this year’s top trends, according to Innova Market Insights, it’s also a rapidly expanding category in food retail. According to the market researcher, 2019 saw a 59 percent increase in plant-based claims in new product launches globally.
However, consumer expectations are also rising, with food allergies driving free-from formulations. Soy is notably one of the six most common food allergies in the world, along with wheat and tree nuts – other ingredients frequently used in plant-based foods.
In addition to concerns over GMOs and allergies, the soy industry is also suffering from sustainability issues. A recent EU-funded project Protein2Food concluded that plant alternatives to soy and dairy, such as lentil-based milk, are better for the environment than soy-based and traditional animal-based protein products.
Beyond soy NPD
In response to demand for plant-based convenience foods, Hydrosol has created its HydroTop Vegan Patty PP range. The modular system that is designed to serve the convenience market is based on fava bean and pea protein. Together with the plant-based texturate, it enables users to make vegan burger patties or plant-based nuggets that retain characteristics of meat products in taste, texture, color and mouthfeel.
Alternatives to dairy
Other applications of plant-based, soy-free stabilizing and texturing systems include desserts based on almond and coconut drinks. As a functional system of modified starch, hydrocolloids and plant fiber can provide the base for a pudding or fermented desserts. In the milk drink category, sunflower and oat alternatives are possible alternatives.
Recently, Hydrosol added a plant-based, soy-free sour cream without any e-numbers to its portfolio. The product was demonstrated at Fi Europe in Paris in a soy- and gluten-free, vegan tarte flambée, with gluten-free crust, plant-based sour cream and vegan bacon. “The tarte flambée was a great success, and many visitors were immediately won over by the taste of our sour cream,” reports Product Manager Katharina Schäfer.
Soy not going away
Despite consumer concerns over allergens or GMOs, soy is still in demand. ADM recently expanded its production of soy protein concentrate in the Netherlands. Notably, the processing facility will only produce non-GMO soy protein concentrate, in a bid to keep Europe supplied with high-quality protein, according to the company.
This week Waitrose & Partners exclusively launched first-to-market, ready-made vegan pancakes from Squeaky Bean. With veganism at an all-time high, searches for vegan pancakes in January on the company’s website were reported as up by 1,385 percent, compared to January last year. The new soy-based brand has also proven very popular with online shoppers with searches for Squeaky Bean up over 90 percent.
By Missy Green
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