Novozymes launches enzymatic toolbox to aid development of oat-based beverages
29 Nov 2019 --- As the market for oat-based beverage continues to grow, Novozymes has developed a new toolbox to guide producers expanding their businesses into oat drinks. Hailed by the company as “a first of its kind,” the toolbox provides insights into how to use and combine enzymes, raw material and production parameters to adjust sweetness, mouthfeel and nutritional profile in oat beverages.
The announcement from Novozymes comes during a time where the market for plant-based options is changing in scale – dramatically. Boosted by a sustainable and natural positioning that reflects consumer demands, the market now provides options for consumers who are seeking planet-friendly choices. At the same time, this category is mindful of promoting its health benefits. Now that plant milk is more mainstream, there is a considerable push toward bringing even more dairy-alternative products to market.
Half a billion people worldwide are either vegan or vegetarian, with 26 percent of Millennials having already embraced this lifestyle. An additional 73 percent of them are willing to pay more for sustainable food and drinks. The combination of these trends is giving the sale of oat drinks a boost, with an expected growth of 30 percent a year, according to Novozymes’ plant protein consumer research (2018).
Oats are booming
“A new market is opening up and booming,” says Alessandro Palumbo, Market Development Manager at Novozymes. To help dairies and beverage producers expand their portfolios and create new types of oat drinks, we have developed a toolbox that can help them expand their business into this new territory.”
“The toolbox makes Novozymes the natural partner of choice in the oat drink space,” Palumbo tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “We’re able to guide dairy and beverages producers to develop oat drinks consumers really want, combining enzymes, raw materials and production partners. We can do this by starting at a very small scale and then helping them to scale up to industrial scale,” explains.
“The category is booming but there’s no standard regulation yet. Therefore, producers have a lot of freedom to innovate launching drinks with different flavor and nutritional profiles to match the consumer’s taste and preference,” he continues. “That’s why is so valuable to provide them with a toolbox that allows them to enhance their differentiation capabilities as well as saving costs in an increasingly competitive market.”
According to Palumbo, it’s “the beginning of the oat beverage era, and there is definitely more innovation expected to hit the market.” Most of the new and existing players will continue to experiment with sweetness, mouthfeel and nutritional profile and this will create new categories within the segment. Some businesses are positioning their brands as a non-dairy alternative, some as a plant-based on-the-go drink, while some others are targeting the coffee shop enthusiasts with oat-based lattes and barista versions, he muses.
Oat drinks are the fastest-growing category in the plant-based beverage segment, Palumbo notes. “This is mainly because oat drinks have one of the best nutritional profiles among dairy alternatives. Oat drinks are also known for their benefits when it comes to sustainability,” he adds.
In spite of huge interest and a growing market, a 2018 study from Novozymes found that only two in ten consumers think that plant protein is “extremely good tasting.”
“The fast-growing demand allows producers to develop and market new types of oat drinks. But at the same time, it’s also a challenge to come up with products that match the consumer’s taste and preference,” Palumbo explains.
The new enzymatic toolbox is developed by Novozymes and provides insights into how to use and combine enzymes, raw material and production parameters to adjust sweetness, mouthfeel and nutritional profile in oat drinks. It also provides insights for producers into how to optimize the production process and save costs.
“The toolbox allows dairy and beverage producers to develop the oat drinks consumers want. By teaming up with Novozymes, they will be able to select the flavor and nutritional profile of their drink, starting from a prototype and quickly scale it up using the perfect combination of enzymes, raw materials and equipment,” Palumbo says.
Even though the production process is quite straight forward, it’s quite difficult to produce exactly the desired oat drink and to do it in a consistent way, he explains.
“One should start by carefully selecting the right raw material, add the right combination of enzymes and then have a good control of the various production parameters (especially temperature) throughout all the production steps.”
“This will help them to speed up the go-to-market process while reducing their risks related to new product development,” he concludes.
By Elizabeth Green
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