Consumers are more and more aware of what’s in the food they buy, partly because of on-pack labeling indicating the health credentials of the products as well as the multitude of apps, other technologies and in-depth social media campaigns that tell the story of the food, pinpointing health halo characteristics, how they ended up in the product and the people growing and providing the raw materials behind them.
Gravitation towards plant-based diets in general, along with interest in vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian lifestyles as well as concerns over animal welfare, have together served to increase interest and NPD has subsequently seen an 11 percent CAGR for the 2013-2017 period, according to Innova Market Insights. Research also indicates that four in ten US consumers increased their consumption of meat substitutes/alternatives during 2017.
At the same time, the visual appeal of desserts is paramount. Social media has become a powerful asset to marketing within the food industry. The significance of Instagramable food images can be seen online every day. Sharing food through social media becomes increasingly important, particularly for millennials, which means that standout food concepts are thriving. Color is a big part of this.
What are some of the latest trends in desserts? And what are some of the challenges companies have to overcome to bring new vegan concepts in desserts to the fore?
KaTech develops vegan bakery concepts
Food technology company KaTech has developed a new range of vegan bakery product concepts including cake and alternative dairy fillings. The company has developed a range of bakery solutions including gluten-free, reduced sugar and low-fat options alongside other standard products in the market. This is to keep pace with consumer demand for vegan products as well as low-fat, healthier alternatives.
Vegan-baked goods require new ways of thinking for the food industry and the company’s accomplishment follows the introduction of its new bakery portfolio to the market. The biggest challenge in making a vegan cake is overcoming the loss of the functionality of egg as they provide a stable emulsion, structure, stability, and texture. Finding alternative ingredients for vegan cakes opens up options for development.
“We have developed a number of diverse sweet bakery concepts focusing on gluten-free, dairy-free, clean label, sugar reduction, protein and nutritional enrichment that we are now showing to potential customers and that perfectly fit in current market requirements,” KaTech Paul Dean, Bakery Manager tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
“We strongly believe that there will be a growing trend towards a free-from category which will cater both for people that need foods that don’t have certain ingredients and the ones that don’t want certain ingredients like animal products in their finished products.”
“The same will be valid for the bakery category. We believe that consumers are looking more into options that suit their individual needs,” he adds.
Coloring desserts: A rainbow of possibilities
Exberry (by GNT) is a brand of coloring foods for the food and beverage industry made from fruits, vegetables and edible plants using a physical manufacturing process processed with water.
GNT says that for frozen desserts, vibrant colors are used to indicate flavor, encourage customers to try products and to set them apart in-store. Exberry color solutions offer bright, clean-label colors to all varieties of frozen desserts, from ice pops and novelties to traditional ice creams and inclusions.
“Color is one of, if not the most important buying criterion for food and beverages, today. Manufacturers need to be aware of the latest trends to make their products succeed on the shelf,” says Carla Compte, Country Sales Manager GNT Iberia S.L.
The trend toward purple foods and beverages is rooted in health and wellness, as well as visual appeal. For fruits and vegetables, purple indicates a high phytonutrient content which signals health and wellbeing to consumers. As a result, purple vegetables such as purple carrots, sweet potatoes, and yams appear more frequently in supermarkets.
Earlier this year, Pantone, a global authority on color, named UltraViolet their “color of the year,” which has continued to drive the demand for purple. At the same time, fragrance and flavor company Firmenich declared fig as its flavor of the year which in turn fits perfectly with the trend towards purple.
Also tapping into the growing demand for vegan desserts is Algaia which launched its product Satialgine DVA series that works with any type of protein as long as it contains calcium, a year ago.
Speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Algaia CEO Fabrice Bohin talks about the next-generation seaweed extract ingredient for dairy and non-dairy desserts, an alginate line which provides a rich and creamy texture in desserts such as low-fat dairy flans.
“Satialgine DVA series are already sold in different countries. Customers are pleasantly surprised by its versatility both in various manufacturing processes and recipes,” he says. “The product offers an indulgent rich texture even with low fat in dairy and vegan applications. International companies currently use the product for processed cheese, condensed milk, flans, and other applications.”
How does the company blend the natural indulgence associated with desserts with the mega-trends of healthy eating?
More than 95 percent of the seaweed used by Algaia is harvested just 20km away from the plant and mostly processed fresh from the Atlantic. Algaia has invested millions in recent years to reduce its potable water consumption, improve standards, valorizing its waste and reducing its carbon footprint.
“As an illustration, we estimate that using local algae reduces by a factor of seven the CO2 emission that a seaweed extract manufacturer would generate otherwise. Algae-based ingredients benefit from a clean image and can be used in all ethnic foods. Use of algae extracts help reduce fat and animal-derived ingredients,” Bohin continues.
The next generation of Satialgine DVA series will be launched next year, Bohin explains, offering an even more clean label attribute to customers thanks to an innovative extraction technology enhancing the functionality of the seaweed extracts it is composed of.
“Products derived from seaweed, fruits or plants are generally well perceived by consumers. In this context, ingredients or additives derived from seaweed tap very well into the vegan trend,” he adds.
“Alginates benefit from a very good consumer perception. A couple of months ago, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the US listed alginates as a dietary fiber. Numerous scientific surveys also demonstrate that alginates can act as a prebiotic in the stomach.”
Kröner-Stärke’s starch flakes
German producer of natural wheat starches, Kröner-Stärke, has boosted its range of starch flakes to include a new instant porridge, pre-gelatinized wheat starch flakes, cornstarch flakes, waxy maize starch flakes and whole flour starches for use in healthy clean-label food products.
Providing outstanding technical performance, the new flake products are ideal for manufacturers of porridges, sauces, dressings, smooth desserts, puddings, mousses, custards, and other similar products.
Starch flakes offer exceptional dispersion properties, making them easy to incorporate into any mixture, and immediately add to the viscosity of the product. Full viscosity can be achieved without cooking, providing a convenient and easy to use solution for producing a range of instant soups, baby foods, desserts, and baked goods. The flakes are also excellent moisture absorbers and so can help to avoid lumping too, according to the German-based company.
By Gaynor Selby
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