Alternative Proteins and Textures Dominate Vegan Confectionery Launches at ISM 2022
01 Feb 2022 — Environmental and personal health trends are driving the confectionery segment – and this is evident at ISM and ProSweets 2022 as the plant-based and vegan NPD is showcased.
Boosted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of immunity is highlighted. Vegan NPD is one of the most notable trends in confectionery with claims of high quality transparency and sustainability messaging.
Food preferences and religious beliefs are all catered for and explored in the sweet space.
FoodIngredientsFirst talk to confectionery specialists about developing plant-based confectionery products and the challenges they encounter along the way.
The Ghent company Vital, for example, has replaced egg protein in its nougat. The company had to undergo rigorous testing and extensive research to find the right protein with the structure of egg white and a neutral flavor that would not alter the quintessential flavor of nougat.
“During the COVID-19 period, we did a lot of R&D on vegan nougat. It was quite a challenge because we had to replace the common egg white with another protein that is not another allergen for chocolate manufacturers,” says Laurian Dumon, Sales and Customer Relationship Manager at Vital. FoodIngredientsFirst.
Replace protein of animal origin
Vital has been producing nougat since 1926, processing approximately 400 metric tons for the chocolate, pastry and ice cream industries. Vegan granulated nougat is his latest brainchild driven by consumer demand.
The company aimed to replace the traditional chicken egg white, as an aerator, an allergen used by chocolate manufacturers.
“We replaced our common egg white with potato protein. We did a lot of research on that. We found that the potato protein had a very neutral flavor,” says Dumon.
Vital’s team researched the potential of pea protein for use in nougat, but found that the taste of pea tainted the classic nougat flavor.
“We have called many of our supplier partners who have substitutes for the common egg white. And, of course, we’re using chicken egg white for the time being. But it’s an allergen that a lot of chocolate manufacturers don’t want in their product factory,” he says.
After market analysis, different vegetable proteins such as soybeans, rice, potatoes and peas were tested and selected. Honey was replaced in the recipe and vegan granulated nougat was created.
“We have done many tests with potato proteins and found that the structure is very similar to the protein we are using. You have to whip the protein with the egg white and it has risen nicely,” says Dumon.
Vital sources ingredients as close to head office as possible to ensure products are produced sustainably. The sugar comes from Belgium, the glucose from the Netherlands, the almonds from Italy and the pistachios from Spain.
Vegan, gelatin-free and gluten-free claims
Gelatin-free products are hitting the shelves more frequently, meeting the demands of health-conscious consumers who still want to indulge in sweet applications. A report from Innova Market Insights shows that the plant-based confectionery space is snowballing.
“Shared Planet” tops Innova Market Insights Top Ten Trends for 2022. Consumers today are more ethically and environmentally conscious, so food brands need to work alongside the public to instill confidence in product claims.
In order to meet current market standards, the Sodibel Group’s Yolloh candy brand has published three key claims; vegan, gluten-free and gelatin-free for 25 candy styles that appeal to adults and children such as gummies and hard candies.
“We live in Belgium, a country with many different cultures and religions, so we want to make everyone who goes to the supermarket to buy sweets happy,” said Gauthier Solarski, account manager at Yolloh. FoodIngredientsFirst.
Gelatin is produced from animal fats and is not intended for consumers of the Jewish or Islamic faith. When candy manufacturers ignore vegan claims, they exclude a significant portion of the consumer base. Many consumers seek out gluten-free products on the premise that they are unhealthy for the gut microbiome.
Arna Falco presented its vegan “Toffee Noir” range of dairy-free caramels, coated in dark chocolate. Chocolat Madagascar has unveiled its range of vegan, vegan milC and white milC chocolates with milk alternative, white chocolate alternative and cashew chocolate.
In other industry moves, Cargill is targeting Europe’s growing flexitarian appetite with a range of vegan chocolates and couverture chocolates. Chocolate ExtraVeganZa is positioned to deliver a “truly indulgent sensory experience,” using plant-based “powerful ingredients” sunflower seed powder, rice syrup, and organic rice syrup.
By Inga de Jong
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