Beneo presents an opportunity to ‘find tomorrow’s solutions today’

From textured wheat protein to clean and green texturising solutions, Beneo demonstrated the power of plant-based functional ingredients to promote better nutrition at its Hospitality Suite in Paris for Fi Europe.

With one in three consumers considering themselves to be flexitarian, Olivier Chevalier, business development manager of meat applications said, reducing meat consumption is a huge trend, which now extends beyond those consumers following a vegan or vegetarian diet.

“More than just the avoidance of meat-based food, the core motivation is a healthy lifestyle and respect for the world we live in, with the top three drivers including health, animal welfare and the environment, he said.

“As a result, demand for ingredients that support the development of meat-free alternatives has been steadily growing. In fact in 2019, wheat protein has grown to become the most used plant-based protein in new meat alternative product launches.”

Beneo’s textured wheat protein, BeneoPro W-Tex, is a new variant of plant-based protein being added to the company’s portfolio.

With wheat-based protein being one of the most promising in the field of meat substitute applications for vegetarian burgers, nuggets, sausages and ready meals, BeneoPro W-Tex helps food manufacturers meet increasing consumer demand for meat alternatives.

It is high in protein, has a neutral taste, fast hydration and stable texture. In combination with its fibrous, meat-like texture and juicy mouthfeel after hydration, it can challenge animal-based proteins, both in terms of taste and texture. In addition, it can be used in clean-label recipes as additional hydrocolloids are not needed.

Test technology and taste

Next to wheat-based proteins like BeneoPro W-Tex, soy protein is one of the main alternatives to animal-based protein, but it usually has an undesirable ‘off-taste’. Katrin Kienzle, area sales manager Dach at Beneo said natural, slow-release carbohydrate, Palatinose (isomaltulose), with its sugar-like taste and mild sweetness, can be used to mask this off-taste in soy drinks.

At the same time, it provides glucose in a stable and sustained way, which helps to keep blood sugar levels in balance, and has a respective EU health claim available to substantiate this property.

This is particularly key when you consider that 51% of consumers regard slow-release carbohydrates as generally better than traditional sugar and 60% link them with sustained energy. With this in mind, Palatinose offers a natural solution that provides health benefits, while also contributing to better tasting recipes for plant-based beverages

Inner balance

Consumer demand for mental, as well as physical, well-being is rising and awareness of the role that the gut plays in this respect is growing. Scientists worldwide are increasingly looking into the link between the gut and the brain, resulting in greater understanding of the role of short-chain fatty acids created via the fermentation of prebiotic fibres.

In contrast to common fermentable fibres, prebiotics specifically nourish the beneficial bacteria (Bifidobacterium and Lactobacilli) that are naturally present in the intestinal tract, ensuring their optimal development. Supporting the growth of these beneficial bacteria contributes to a balanced and healthy gut microbiota.

Science demonstrates that short-chain fatty acids, achieved through this prebiotic fermentation, can reach the brain and other organs directly through the blood, or indirectly via the stimulation of immune cells, the hormonal or nervous system and the release of messenger substances. As a result, the gut microbiota can influence digestive health, overall health and an individual’s inner well-being.

Katrien Lambeens, product manager functional fibres at Beneo said inulin and oligofructose are the only plant-based proven prebiotics according to ISAPP (International Scientific Association for Pro- and Prebiotics). According to Beneo, they have been scientifically shown to support a range of functional health benefits, including a balanced gut microbiota and a person’s overall well-being.  

Clean and green texturising solutions

Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly interested in the ingredients in their foods and are demanding more transparency from manufacturers so they can make ethical and healthier choices. Therefore, it is not surprising that clean label product launches doubled between 2012 and 2017. Also, with 41% of European consumers ‘always or often looking at the ingredient list, the importance of the label cannot be underestimated.

Benoit Tavernier, product manager specialty rice ingredients said Beneo is focusing its R&D efforts on its organic and clean label rice starches portfolio, with some new solutions already in the pipeline. With rice being such an accepted and recognisable kitchen cupboard ingredient, Beneo has already worked with manufacturers on a wide range of recipe concepts. These include everything from cream cheese, bakery creams, ice creams and tomato based sauces, through to spoonable dressings and ketchups.

Food and beverage trends – the next 10 years

According to David Jago, director of innovation and insight at Mintel, Mintel will be looking forward to 2030 through the lens of seven key factors expected to drive consumer spending decisions. Right at the top of the list is ‘well-being’. Well-being is no longer about simply wanting to look after oneself in broad terms, nor is it about the extremes of a total lifestyle change or commitment to an intense regime. Instead, a holistic, longer-term approach is becoming a key motivator of consumer behaviour, underpinned by convenience, transparency and value.

He said: “Concern for our environment will also grow and successful companies will be those that improve the health of the planet and its population. Science and technology will be vital and valid assets, but diets will change: red meat consumption will move from mainstream to luxury to taboo, and plant-based will be the new normal.

Overall, consumers are increasingly developing their own ideas of what consistutes good or bad nutrition for themselves. Although the mass-market and ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach will still have value, we will see the emergence of bespoke solutions that aim to fit the many disparate needs of consumers.”

 

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