DSM exec flags opportunities to integrate fish alternatives and flavors into global menus
21 Dec 2021 --- Fish is a consumer favorite worldwide, with flavors like cod, tuna, crab and shrimp being popular taste profiles in many food applications. However, with concerns over the world’s diminishing fish resources and interest in plant-based food varieties on the rise, there is “an exciting opportunity for manufacturers ahead,” according to Gilbert Verschelling, director of business development and innovation at DSM.
“The vegan fish market is still in its relative infancy, but we expect growth in this category to accelerate quickly over the next few years,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Globally, there are 83 companies producing fish alternative products as of June 2021, with 65 of them focusing on plant-based products, Verschelling states. “In comparison, only 29 companies were producing alternative seafood products in 2017. For NPD teams seeking new ideas to keep up with these launches, imitating popular, authentic tastes and textures throughout a range of applications will increase consumer appeal.”
Interest in global cuisines are on the rise worldwide, with many consumers seeking adventure through taste, following COVID-19 travel restrictions. Traveling through taste has become an increasingly popular theme throughout the pandemic.
Verschelling believes that Japan has had one of the biggest international influences compared to any other country.
“At the same time, there has also been an increase in plant-based fish consumption,” he says. “In fact, 28% of consumers across nine countries in Europe say they recently consumed fish alternatives, and the global plant-based fish market is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 28% from 2021 to 2031.”
There is, therefore, a ripe opportunity to integrate fish alternatives into cuisines such as sushi, a popular staple on Japanese menus, Verschelling highlights.
In March, Planteneers launched alt-fish products specifically designed for vegan sushi applications.
Perfecting fish flavor
Tapping into these trends, DSM has launched Maxavor Fish YE, a vegan, natural and 100% allergen-free flavor solution.
Since launching in March, Maxavor Fish YE is being actively used in six different vegan canned and pouched tuna products across the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Asia.
Verschelling says that customers in South Africa are also leveraging the Maxavor Fish YE solution in traditional fishcakes, while in New Zealand, Russia and Romania, vegan oyster sauce is a popular application.
These flavors are also suited to applications such as fish soups, pies, sauces, nuggets, salads and more.
“We are particularly excited to play our part in the growth of the fish alternatives market. We are also committed to supporting the production of popular plant-based products for customers and consumers with varying preferences worldwide,” he explains.
Further evidencing the company’s commitment to the plant-based movement, DSM’s Maxavor Fish YE solution recently won FiE’s best Plant-Based Innovation award this year.
“Answering today’s growing appetite for vegan fish flavors, our range of Maxavor Fish YE process flavors is natural, sustainable and meets kosher and halal requirements, making it suitable for a range of label claims,” asserts Verschelling.
New taste directions
DSM’s broad portfolio of solutions, combined with the company’s market expertise and end-to-end services, puts DSM in the ideal position to support manufacturers in powering front-of-pack label claims and bringing great-tasting international flavors and textures to market, according to Verschelling.
Inspired by popular cuisines and the savory elements created through sautéing, simmering or slow cooking food, DSM’s MaxaGourmet flavor solution is available in three culinary taste directions – Continental, Mediterranean and Oriental.
“Developed using ingredients consumers are familiar with, such as herbs and vegetables, MaxaGourmet naturally enriches premium quality savory foods by providing distinctive flavor notes and adding taste complexity,” says Verschelling.
“We also set ourselves apart in the plant-based industry through our commitment to reach 150 million people with nutritious, delicious, sustainable plant-based foods by 2030. DSM plans to meet this commitment by continuously innovating and accelerating solutions for sustainably produced plant-based foods and beverages,” he continues.
The company is also investing in the scale-up of its canola-based protein capabilities to enhance a wide range of vegan and vegetarian products – from meat and dairy alternatives to beverages – with a diverse range of flavors.
By Elizabeth Green
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