The future of alternative meat and dairy products? Freedom of choice

So says Adam Janczuk, vice president of global R&D at IFF Nourish Division, which is the largest food and beverage division of International Flavors & Fragrances Inc (IFF).

IFF’s Nourish division, created by the mega-merger earlier this year between IFF and DuPont’s Nutrition and Biosciences business, focuses more on alternative proteins and offers a wide variety of products to help customers produce drinks, dairy products and meat. – alternative products.

Janczuk told FoodNavigator that the IFF is looking beyond the largest agricultural sources of protein such as soybeans and peas and is keen to explore the areas of fermentation and cell farming in the long term to discover the ingredients of the “Next generation” in space without meat or dairy.

“We have a fairly large footprint in large vegetable proteins such as soybeans and peas”,he told us. “It is at the heart of our activity. But we are looking beyond that to see what the next generation of [alternative] protein. “

Innovation in alternative proteins is driven by consumer demand for more choice, he explained. “What’s exciting about this area is that the format and the choices are now more compelling than 10 years ago. “he said. “If someone wanted an alternative to an animal product, there was a lot of compromise not only on how it looked and tasted, but also on its nutritional value. In most cases, it just wasn’t there, so evolution was more of a revolution.

“The most interesting part now is how much more convincing this choice will be for the consumer. This is where I think the next generation of improvements is and that compelling element will be the variety of formats for each meal.

Today’s consumers, he explained, don’t want to avoid meat or dairy products, they want alternative foods and drinks that provide a delicious dining experience comparable to animal foods in in terms of taste, texture and price. Exploring texture will ignite the next generation of products and leverage formats beyond imitation. People are also very aware of their health now and where their protein is coming from, he said. “They start to look at what are the anti-nutrients and what are the [essential] amino acid profiles. They ask “how digestible is it for me”? Not limiting our formats by trying to look like animal products, will allow us to create healthier options

Portfolios of vegetable proteins must therefore adapt quickly to “Satisfy this basic consumer desire for a delicious and healthy choice“.

“People want freedom of choice and if you give something that has a compelling case, they’ll gravitate towards it. I don’t see this as a fight against animal producers, but so far there has been no solid alternative. ”

Beyond soy

What are the ingredients that excite the company the most? The discussion beyond ubiquitous soybeans is particularly exciting, he told us. “Soybeans are well established. You can grow it anywhere; people know him very well. It is one of the main sources of [essential] amino acids. He has a lot of good things. But again, people want to see this strain. So for me, I think things like canola, sunflower, and quinoa are the ones that are starting to turn me on.

These ingredients may not contain all of the essential amino acids on their own. But he expects more innovation in blending different types of protein so that consumers can achieve high nutritional value without compromising the taste experience of these products.

The fermentation space thrives

The IFF also thinks beyond plants in the areas of fermentation – a type of biotechnology that uses microorganisms to create a chemical change that can produce food ingredients.

Fermentation, he said, offers a number of benefits to food producers, including product sustainability, health and performance.

It also offers opportunities to shorten supply chains. This will do two things: improve the environmental credentials of these ingredients and potentially help reduce costs for producers and end consumers.

“Fermentation takes the supply chain to where you build the equipment and bring in common raw materials to get you this quality protein.”Janczuk explained. “It can also give you access to markets that you cannot easily access… but understand that to achieve these efficiencies the organization may need to be different. [or Engineered]. “

From frozen to fresh

Variety in terms of format is therefore another area offering possibilities for innovation. He thinks there’s going to be a desire to move away from your typical burgers, nuggets, and meatballs as vehicles for alternative protein consumption.

“We will have to be more creative”he said. “Does my herbal product have to look like a T-Bone? I am not sure. I think the format should still look somewhat familiar to consumers. “He therefore envisions more room for fresh plant-based, stable and usable ingredients sold to consumers in a format they can prepare at home.

“There will be a desire to evolve the frozen-to-fresh format so that the consumer can take it home in a raw and fresh format and prepare it in their own way and add their own touch as they would with any other food ingredient. .

“From our perspective, being able to develop formulated product ingredients that come close to what you can do in a kitchen is probably the ultimate goal. ”

“I do not see these sources of [alternative] proteins in competition with each other ”, he added. “The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion people over the next 30 years. You won’t be able to feed everyone with just one source of protein. So everyone will have their home and they will connect with consumers who are looking for where these connect with their nutritional, health, pleasure or ethical goals. “

Balancing innovation with taste, texture and nutrition

Innovation, however, brings trade-offs and challenges such as hiding the wrong notes and finding a balance between functionality, taste and texture. “Inheritably, every time you go to a new food source there will be a trade-off and how can we correct those trade-offs in masking and modulation is a critical part of how we are going to evolve the format,”Janczuk revealed.

About Thomas B. Countryman

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