As plant-based diets continue to rise in both popularity and consumer demand, taste remains the top concern when selecting plant-based alternatives, according to Mintel. Vegan Flavors is staying ahead of the game with our ever-expanding, delicious vegan flavor portfolio.
We also work very closely with our staff to ensure we’re creating true-to-life flavors, but there are definite challenges when trying to mimic animal-based proteins. In order to understand more about the challenges we face, and how we tackle them, we sat down with our Chief Master Flavorist, Linda Gleason to learn more.
Q: What are the differences between flavor creation for vegan versus a standard flavor?
Linda: We definitely have to work more closely with our vegan customers on flavor development to achieve authentic profiles. Plant-based proteins behave very differently than animal proteins. If the overall appearance, color, texture, mouthfeel, flavor and flavor release is not right, the consumer will be dissatisfied.
Q: When developing a vegan flavor, what are some of the ingredients you’re not able to use that would give you true-to life taste?
Linda: Our traditional beef, chicken, pork, and turkey flavors contain meat digests, concentrated stocks, animal fats, and meat extracts. These ingredients provide a rich complexity and authenticity to the flavor.
Q: Are there specific flavors that are more difficult to develop than others? Why? What are some of the ways you can get around that?
Linda: Mozzarella for pizza cheese. The casein, lactose, whey proteins and fat provide structure and taste. Vegan ingredient alternatives do not melt and stretch the same. The lack of browning, texture, separation and mouthfeel affect the consumer acceptance.
We work very closely with our customers, our Sensory team and panels to screen through prototypes and make adjustments. We utilize our knowledge of fermentation, yeasts and enzymatic digests of plant proteins to provide more depth to the product.
Linda is part of our Vegan Flavors team that also includes Vegan Application Technologists, additional Master Flavorists, and Innovation Scientists dedicated to creating more authentic profiles that perfectly mimic meat and dairy-based products. Reach out today to learn more.