Symrise: The modern vegetarian leads to new food concepts

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09 Feb 2018 --- Symrise has identified three different types of vegetarian consumers following an in-depth study which details the key drivers that attract modern vegetarians to certain meals, concepts and products.

The Symrise team also wanted its study to discover how meat alternatives and meat analogs factor into the modern vegetarian diet and to find opportunities for innovation in meals and snacks that will attract the modern vegetarian.

The research was carried out in the US and EU through an online research tool and secondary research was garnered through various other reputable sources. In addition, chef colleagues in their Chefs United community supplied culinary inspiration and culinary treks in various cities provided first-hand data.


Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Dylan Thompson, Marketing & Consumer Insight Specialist for Symrise said: “All signs point to more and more millennials adopting a “Flexitarian way of life” – flexing to specific diets, flexing to quality and flexing to food items that fit their lifestyle and make a positive impact on the environment. This will also have an impact on Gen Z.”


“More and more consumers are becoming conscious of our global food system, with the help of the internet and media documentaries on platforms such as Netflix. Millennials have grown up in a culture of food awareness and take their food's impact on the environment into consideration, leading them to spearhead change,” he explains.


“I think we'll see a variety of non-meat products ranging from products that will imitate meat for consumers who are not able to eat meat because of health concerns or other factors to products that will not imitate meat and be more veg-centric with global flavors, appealing to vegetarians, vegans and consumers who are looking for variety and experiential flavors,” Thompson notes.


Three types of vegetarian consumers
From the study, Symrise was able to identify three types of vegetarian consumers: Flexitarians, who choose a vegetarian diet as a lifestyle choice but continue to eat meat; Vegetarian Idealists, who abstain from meat; and Health Restricted Vegetarians, who avoid meat for health reasons but crave it.

Symrise used the information from this study to develop concepts for each consumer type, including vegetable burger-type products, modifying them based on the needs of each of the three types of vegetarian consumers.

This exercise demonstrates that instead of one product, three distinct variations are needed to target each consumer group.

While Flexitarians eat mostly plant food, they do not totally eliminate meat in their meals and are drawn to food that adds protein without meat as a center of the plate item. 

Flexitarians are primarily Gen Z consumers – also known as the iGeneration, Post Millennials, Plurals or the Homeland Generation. They are the originators of Meatless Mondays, according to Symrise.

For the Flexitarians who want to reduce their meat consumption but not delete it entirely from their diets, Symrise created a novel Roasted Mushroom Burger with Goat Cheese and Arugula, based on a recipe from one of the Chefs United members.

In addition to roasted mushrooms, it features a Symrise Flavor Enhancer and an Evospray Natural Beef Type Flavor.Click to Enlarge

Vegetarian Idealists say they have a dedication to animal welfare and strong environmental concerns such as reducing global warming, saving water, avoiding water pollution, reduced destruction of topsoil and rainforests and the saving of wildlife habitats.

They are typically Gen Z, Millennials and Young Gen X. They don’t want any meat flavor or texture, but they do want bold flavors and exciting textures. For them, Symrise created the Ancho and Morita Tempe Burger Torta. They used tofu, tempeh, beans, vegetables and their Ancho Morita base to create a hearty, nutritious meal.

Health Restricted Vegetarians, who are mostly Baby Boomers, feel that a vegetarian diet offers health benefits because it is high in fiber, antioxidants and phytochemicals but low in saturated fats and cholesterol.

They do continue to crave meat, however, and using meat alternatives suits them. For this group, Symrise’s All American Veggie Burger is a great choice. It has the meaty, rich profile they want, but relies on plant proteins for its structure and Symrise Chicken, Beef and Pork flavors for its taste.

These burger concepts that arose from the Symrise Modern Vegetarian study are just one example of how Symrise says it has mastered the intricacies of the widespread, growing trend toward meatless foods and prepared foods with less meat content.

Experienced Symrise flavor professionals are ready to work with customers in formulating vegetarian and vegetarian-type products that provide uncompromised great taste and wide appeal across multiple ethnic and age demographics.

As the result of a comprehensive study, Symrise’s Marketing and Consumer Insights Group reports on the views, eating behaviors and buying motivators of modern vegetarian consumers.


By Gaynor Selby & Elizabeth Green


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