Veggie delight: NPD innovation for millennials

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20 Feb 2018 --- With “Mindful Choices” tipped as Innova Market Insights top trend forecast for this year, the move is making its way onto the dinner plates of health-minded young millennials. As concerns around sustainability, animal welfare and campaigns such as Veganuary is building momentum and driving innovation in the meat-free space.

The world “flexitarian” has been around for some time, as more and more consumers opt for Meat Free Monday and meatless meals, on more than one occasion during the week. German-based supermarket, Aldi are expanding their brands to include more vegetarian and vegan products, as their entire approach shifts to a healthier outlook.
Innova Market Insights tipped “Mindful Choices” as its number one food trend, consumers want conscientious food choices and are paying closer attention to the ingredients list. They want products that are healthy for themselves and the planet. This trend continues to expand throughout many channels of food supply and production, and Aldi has been an adopter of the trends.
Another trend for 2018 is “Bountiful Choice”, meaning consumers want more than just the regular selection of goods, they want variety. Aldi is offering new options weekly, with products like hummus and guacamole being offered in a greater variety of flavors and options. The retailer has released a new Earth Grown product line that is entirely meat-free. It includes free from all animal by-products like dairy, eggs, gelatin and even honey. This line of both mindful and bountiful: there is a broad variety of options and look towards a more mindful future free from animal products.
Aldi’s Earth Grown product line is offering a new selection of meat substitute products like vegan sausages, burgers and chicken-less patties. The supermarket also sells Earth Grown Mozzarella Style Shreds and dairy-free ice cream.
Vegetarian-friendly foods and snacks are just some of the new products now offered by Orkla companies this month.
“February is a strong launch window with a multitude of exciting innovations responding to the trend towards natural and plant-based food and better-for-you products,” notes Arve Heltne, Senior Vice President Orkla Marketing & Innovation.
The many new vegan offerings include plant-based mince and drinks for people on the move from the Danish Naturli’ brand and flavorful alternatives to meat from the Swedish Anamma brand.
“These successful products are being rolled out in new markets, and we are now launching several Anamma products and Naturli’ plant-based drinks in Norway,” Heltne notes.
“Anamma has also entered into an exciting partnership with McDonald’s, which has now put a McVegan burger, based on Anamma’s vegan burger, on its menu in Sweden and Finland.”

Anamma’s vegan burgers and other vegan alternatives to traditional meat dishes have been launched in Sweden, Norway and Finland, and the entire range is presented in a new, more eco-friendly packaging. The plant-based margarine, Naturli’ Smørbar, can now be found in Norwegian, Swedish and Danish grocery stores.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Malin Rosenqvist, Brand Manager for Anamma, Orkla Foods Sweden said: “The Swedes' interest in eating vegetarian has risen, about half say they are eating more vegetarian based food today and that they want to eat more vegetarian food in the coming year. About 10 percent of the population in Sweden is vegetarian or vegan and 20 percent of young Swedes (15-24 years old) say they are vegetarian or vegan. It’s a higher interest in vegetarian food compared to vegan food. The interest in vegetarian eating is widely spread regardless of application.” 
Consumers want to eat varied in the context of vegetarian and vegan, and therefore Orkla continuously looks at the ingredients of their products. In an innovation process, there are many factors to take into consideration. “We want to offer a high-quality product to our consumers in terms of both taste and texture,” explains Rosenqvist. “The innovation process to find the right ingredients is always ongoing. The products in our vegans Anamma are based on soybean protein and with the main ingredient coming from a non-animal source; the products have also less climate impact than a regular product made of meat.”
“We see a continuously growing interest within vegetarian and vegan food,” she adds. 
“More Swedes want to reduce their meat consumption. We also see that young people from 16 to 25 become vegetarians/vegans to a greater extent today. It is primarily these two groups that drive growth in the vegetarian and vegan food applications,” Rosenqvist notes.
Dalziel Ingredients is also targeting the vegetarian market by serving up new flavor concepts for food manufacturers looking to develop healthier food choices.
The UK specialist in bespoke seasoning blends, cures and functional ingredients has seen a sharp rise in demand from processors for healthier plant-based options, as more consumers adopt a flexitarian diet.
Examples introduced by Dalziel Ingredients include pork mushroom, lentil and spinach sausages; curried pork meatballs packed with cauliflower and chickpeas, and beef chili con carne burgers packed with kidney beans and mixed peppers.
“These are just a few concepts that may appeal to customers who are seeking to reduce their meat intake without compromising on their mealtime favorites,” explains Denise McGrahan, NPD Marketing Coordinator at Dalziel Ingredients.
She said: “The flexitarian trend for a more vegetable-based diet with less meat is creating a huge demand for more creative and unusual flavor ideas as well as functional ingredients.”
“Food manufacturers are increasingly asking us to develop new flexitarian products in their ranges, particularly for sausages, meatballs and beef mince products. We can create any flavor, but the skill is to include it in meat without losing the integrity of the product,” she explains.
“And our functional ingredients, like citrus and vegetable fibers, help bind the products together, and that further contributes to the vegetable content.”
It is a reflection of the company’s approach to pushing boundaries with new techniques and products, added Dalziel Ingredients’ Sales Director Richard Wilson. “We can help manufacturers look for interesting ways to add healthier options to their menus. At our state-of-the-art development center, we focus on taking ideas and delivering appealing, commercially viable end-products,” he states.
Just last week, Don Lee Farms, a family-run food company based in California, became the first to produce and nationally distribute Organic Plant-Based Raw Burgers. The burger “bleeds” organic beet juice and sizzles on the grill from organic vegetable-based fats just like beef. The breakthrough raw burger, made with beans and seeds, is certified organic, vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free. The burger is free from artificial ingredients or preservatives.
“We have been a supplier of plant-based proteins for many years, and as the leading manufacturer of organic veggie burgers in the country, we are excited to introduce another plant-based burger,” says Donald Goodman, President, Don Lee Farms. “Our customers are looking for an alternative to a raw beef burger and we responded with a healthier approach – making a burger with organic plants. We challenge everyone to look at the ingredients found in other plant-based raw burgers currently being sold, you would be surprised.”
“It’s a burger made with plants, not with science,” said Danny Goodman, Product Development, Don Lee Farms. “As people choose to consume less meat, they expect a burger alternative to be made with simple, wholesome and recognizable ingredients. This is the burger for them. This product is another example of what our team develops by focusing on each ingredient’s purpose. Because we crafted this burger from organic and responsible sources, it’s truly the only sustainable replacement for a raw beef burger.”
By Elizabeth Green

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