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Using Clean-Label Colors to Maximize Consumer Acceptance

Plant-based meat, seafood, and dairy have enjoyed significant growth in recent times, but now momentum is stalling.

There are various reasons for this. One is that, in a sector driven by health-conscious consumers, the rise in media stories around ultra-processing have had an impact. A 2021 survey of vegans, vegetarians, flexitarians, and omnivores found that meat-reducer and meat-avoider consumers pay more attention to clean labels than omnivores.(1) A 2022 study on plant-based burgers, meanwhile, found that the use of simple and familiar ingredients helps to increase product authenticity and consumer acceptance.(2)

EXBERRY®

At the same time, many shoppers – and especially those who also consume animal products – expect plant-based alternatives to replicate the sensorial experience of the real thing. Taste, texture, and aroma are all vital, but color is the first thing consumers see and sets expectations on product quality. If a plant-based patty doesn’t look like a meat burger, they won’t believe it tastes like one either.

Concentrates made from fruits, vegetables, and plants can provide a highly effective solution for all types of plant-based food and drink. These colors can deliver shades from across the rainbow with minimal impact on flavor. They also offer perfect synergy with the plant-based category, enabling manufacturers to deliver visually appealing products with clean and clear labels.

EXBERRY® color concentrates are made from non-GMO fruits, vegetables, and plants and can be used in plant-based meat, fish, yogurt, ice cream, and beyond. Due to the way they are created, they support simple label declarations such as “fruit and vegetable juice for color,” “carrot juice for color” or “paprika (color).” They also pass the strictest ‘do-not-use’ ingredient lists of brands who choose the most natural, transparent ingredients for their products.

We offer complete customer support, working closely with our customers through every step of the product development process. Our services include concept innovation, color selection and matching, stability testing, upscaling, and regulatory matters.

No matter your requirements, EXBERRY® colors can provide the perfect solution for plant-based products – allowing you to deliver appetizing color shades while helping to maximize consumer acceptance. For more information visit, exberry.com.

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(1)Noguerol, A.T. et al. ‘Green or clean? Perception of clean label plant-based products by omnivorous, vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian consumers’ Food Research International (2021)
(2) Birke Rune, C.J. ‘Consumer perception of plant-based burger recipes studied by projective mapping’ Future Foods (2022)

Do Vegan Diets Pose A Nutritional Challenge?

Veganism has spiked in popularity in recent years, with those following the diet often doing so to pursue a more compassionate and sustainable lifestyle. However, amidst the ethical and environmental benefits, it is important to understand the nutritional intricacies that come with a vegan diet.

By restricting foods, some plant-based diets can fall short of delivering certain essential nutrients. Consuming enough protein, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 can be a challenge that demands particular consideration and careful planning.

The very basics of biology teach us that proteins are the building blocks of life, traditionally citing examples such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. However, the plant kingdom offers a wealth of protein sources, including peas, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, and tempeh. This diverse array of plant-based foods provides a spectrum of amino acids necessary for muscle development and overall health, debunking the myth that plant-based diets can lack protein diversity.

However, vegan diets can still cause health challenges, especially with the absorption of plant-based iron, which can be less efficient than its animal-derived counterpart due to differences in chemical structure. Strategic pairings with vitamin C-rich foods – such as squeezing lemon juice on your greens – can enhance iron absorption, helping maintain robust iron levels crucial for energy production and oxygen transport.

Obtaining enough vitamin D poses another challenge, especially during the winter months when sunlight is limited. While non-vegans can find vitamin D in oily fish, egg yolks, red meat, and liver, plant-based food sources lack the vitamin. Vitamin D supports a healthy immune system and normal muscle function and is crucial for absorbing calcium for strong bones. This means it is essential for those with a plant-based diet to supplement vitamin D as well as seeking out fortified products to bridge this nutritional gap.

This is where Morro Nutri comes in – an innovative vitamin-fortification solution by Xampla that connects the dots between ethical eating and nutritional health. By ‘micro-packaging’ vitamins and nutrients in an edible layer of plant-protein material, Morro Nutri protects its contents from UV light, pH and heat shock, meaning products we know and love can be easily fortified with nutrients, without affecting the taste.

Traditional methods of fortifying vitamins in food and beverages often force brands to rely on costly ‘overage’ of vitamins and accept that the ingredients will deteriorate over shelf life. Instead, Morro Nutri’s technology is empowering brands to deliver nutrition effectively and support consumers in maximising the nutritional content of their shopping trolleys.

Armed with insights into a wide range of products and innovative solutions, Morro Nutri will play a pivotal role in advancing the nutritional value of plant-based products in the ever-evolving market landscape. Plant-based innovation, powering plant-based lifestyles.

Health and Nutrition Claims

Today, if you buy a food or drink product that claims to be ‘good for you,’ or is ‘high in’ or a ‘source of’ a particular nutrient, you can rest assured that it has been backed up. In the UK, this hasn’t always been guaranteed, and it’s still not a universal reality worldwide.

Since the implementation of the pioneering regulation, (EC) No.1924/2006, in 2007, the EU and UK have closely regulated health and nutritional claims. The regulation makes sure that any product boasting such claims would have to meet clear criteria stated on the pack.

Following Brexit, the UK has also taken measures to ensure the same standards are met, with manufacturers now reporting their due diligence to the Great Britain nutrition and health claims register.

While such guidelines have brought huge improvements in providing responsible communication to the consumer, it is not without its challenges. This is particularly true for products containing nutrients that are unstable during processing and shelf-life, as many vitamins are susceptible to degradation from heat, UV light, and even low pH.

Even if a brand can prove the correct amount was added during manufacturing, if it is not there in the correct quantity at the end of shelf life then they are misleading the consumer and are in breach of the regulation.

Most brands do not wish to fall foul of these regulations, as they pose a risk of losing consumer loyalty and trust, brand integrity, and reputation.

Companies, when confronted with this issue, often add more of the susceptible nutrients than indicated on packaging, assuming that the right amount will be retained by the time it reaches the consumer. However, this is not an effective workaround – increasing costs, while also posing a risk of excessive nutrient levels, which is not permitted.

Thankfully, as we continue to make strides in the development of innovative solutions, we can now prevent the vitamins from being degraded in the first place. Products such as Morro™ Nutri use unique encapsulation technology to protect valuable nutrients from external factors such as pasteurisation, UV light, and low pH.

Morro Nutri microscopic capsules are natural, of food-grade quality, and made from plant protein meaning they are digested and released in the intestine where they are absorbed.

Navigating regulations can be complicated for most brands, but Morro Nutri makes it simple. The rewards reaped in the end make it a win-win for both manufacturers and consumers.

Learn more at: https://morro.earth/material/morro-nutri/

Saskatchewan: A Global Hot Spot for Agriculture Innovation

Saskatchewan Organizations Offer Cutting-Edge Agriculture Technology

The Canadian province of Saskatchewan is a treasure trove of resources—especially when it comes to pulses and ag-tech. Saskatchewan is home to 40 per cent of Canada’s farmland, and produces 3 million metric tonnes of pulses annually, including chickpeas, beans, peas, and lentils. In 2023, they exported 3.5 million metric tonnes of pulses to 115 countries. That’s a total of $3.3 billion worth of goods. They’re also home to leading-edge ag-tech organizations including the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS), University of Saskatchewan (USask), and the Saskatchewan Food Centre, all of which pioneer cutting-edge innovations in the agrifood sector.

GIFS conducts research advancing understandings of soil, microbe, and root interactions as well as on plant imaging to support genomics-based breeding of crops using Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory. They’re Canada’s only lab providing integrated omics analyses and precision agriculture technologies.

The USask is a world leader in agricultural crop research, plant breeding as well as food processing. Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre has released over 500 new commercial varieties in more than 40 different crop types.

The Saskatchewan Food Centre is home to some of the latest and most innovative food and ag-tech. This is especially true when it comes to fermentation. Currently, the Food Centre is in the process of building a new fermentation facility with production capacity of up to 20,000 liters. This facility will act as a bridge for companies to test and produce their precision fermentation products. It will allow companies to assess commercial success before establishing their own large-scale production facilities.

The centre is a nonprofit organization created to support the food industry. They offer expertise in protein and starch processing, separation, and analysis, including cereals, pulses, canola, and other specialty grains. Anyone from start-ups to established corporations, from small, local companies to large, international customers, can use the Food Centre as a resource. It’s a one-stop-shop for food ingredient and product development. Products made at this centre can be marketed across Canada, in the US, and internationally.

GIFS, the U of S, and the Food Centre are at the forefront of cutting-edge solutions to transform food systems and meet world demand. Learn more here: thinksask.ca/invest/agri-value

Breaking With Tradition: The Plantly Butchers

The Plantly Butchers might be a relative newcomer to the meat-free sector but its commitment to delicious, sustainable, and ethical food choices are unwavering.

Founded in 2020, the company debuted its flagship brand–Billie Green– in September 2022. In little over a year, it has rapidly gained recognition, capturing a significant market share in Germany and garnering prestigious accolades for its products.

A Passion for Plant-Based

The Plantly Butchers‘ mission is simple yet profound: to introduce superior plant-based products that offer a delightful and satisfying eating experience, to convince as many people as possible to adopt a plant-based diet through delicious taste. Driven by a passionate team of experts, the company is committed to delivering top-quality proteins for future generations.

The Plantly Butchers has the spirit and freedom of a flexible and innovative start-up and at the same time has in-depth product know-how and extensive practical knowledge of a wide range of production processes for plant-based protein sources. As a result, The Plantly Butchers developed an innovative fermentation process. This in-house developed method allows the company to produce products with high protein content (31-36%) without compromising on key considerations such as taste and texture. This means The Plantly Butchers is ideally positioned for further growth.

Sustainable business is a high priority at The Plantly Butchers. That’s why the company is proud to already source 100% of its basic raw materials sustainably from Germany and Italy via short transport routes.

Rapid Growth and Recognition

In its short span of operation, The Plantly Butchers has achieved remarkable success. Within just one year, the company has become one of the top five brands in the meat and sausage alternatives segment in Germany, capturing a market share of over 3%. Billie Green’s Vegan Bacon was also recognized as the most innovative product for everyday use in the Breakfast category by Women’s and Men’s Health last year.

Additionally, according to Kununu, The Plantly Butchers was acknowledged as one of the Top Employers. The company also revealed to Plant Based World Pulse (PBWP) that it achieved over €10 million in revenue, all in its inaugural year of operation.

A Continuous Stream of Innovation

A fully plant-based brand, Billie Green has been voracious in its pursuit of success. In 2022, just five products were initially introduced to consumers: Vegan Billie Green Salami Classic, Vegan Billie Green Salami with Pepper, Vegan Billie Green Diced Bacon, Vegan Billie Green Bacon Classic, and Vegan Billie Green Salami Whole Round Classic. Now, things are starting to ramp up, potentially in line with Germany’s widespread adoption of meat-free dining.

The Plantly Butchers is committed to continuous innovation, constantly expanding its product portfolio with exciting new offerings. in November 2023, the company launched three new products: Vegan Billie Green Snack Salami-Style, Vegan Billie Green Snack Salami-Style with Chili, and Vegan Billie Green Chorizo Salami. Further new products are planned for 2024 for also more new consumption occasions.

The overall expansion plan is predicated on launching new collections of products twice a year. The focus of each will always be innovation and catering to demands and tastes that other manufacturers have failed to capture previously. Alongside product launches, expansion into new markets throughout Europe is of serious interest, with The Plantly Butchers team currently investigating potential opportunities and auditing what is driving potential non-domestic demand.

The Growth of a Sector

The company states that plant-based food products have become incredibly popular in Europe due to consumers increasingly chosen sustainable, animal-ethical or health-conscious eating habits. The plant-based food sector in Europe specifically has experienced significant growth, with sales value and unit sales increasing by 21% between 2020 and 2022.

Such growth is expected to continue with market predictions claiming that 2035 will see every tenth portion of meat, eggs, dairy, and seafood consumed globally being made from alternative proteins. In order to ensure this, product development needs to continue to marry sustainability ambitions with improved taste and texture profiles, something that The Plantly Butchers states that it is keen to be a leading example of in practice.

“At TPB, we have a strong focus on research and development to become the leading force in vegan product innovation and enhancing their overall taste experience. As part of our efforts, we prioritize precision fermentation, and creating clean-label, high-protein products,” Georg Achterkamp, managing director of research and development, told PBWP.

Spreading the Plant-Based Message

Within a year, The Plantly Butchers has successfully built a community of more than 25k followers on Instagram, who it claims has provided them with tremendous support. The vegan community, in particular, has shown great enthusiasm for the products and furthermore, consumers and influential figures with large platforms have presented and recommended Billie Green products on their channels. The company states that this has been carried out with genuine conviction.

The company made over 160 million contacts within a year across various social media platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. In addition, it visits festivals in Germany such as the Melt Festival and Superbloom as well as the Terra Wortmann Open tennis tournament with its own Billie Green food truck on over 100 days.

2024 looks set to be a huge year for The Plantly Butchers and in their own words, we need to “stay tuned.”