“Dairy flavors offer richness, they offer mouthfeel,” Anne-Marie Butler, applications manager for Edlong Europe, told DairyReporter at IFT in Las Vegas last week.
“A fattier texture is going to diminish those bitter notes.”
More than 3m people in the US and 542,000 people in the UK follow a vegan diet, according to Edlong. New vegan product launches have increased at a rate of 257% compared to vegetarian products at 25% over a five-year period.
Edlong’s history is in developing dairy flavors but the company realized it had to adapt to shifting consumer dietary preferences and saw a market opportunity for its vegan-complaint dairy flavorings.
“Not everybody can eat dairy and allergies are becoming more and more of an issue,” Butler said.
“You need to just adjust to stay competitive and offer things people can use in every application.”
Growing vegan-compliant portfolio
Today, 57% of Edlong’s dairy flavors portfolio is vegan-compliant and consists of various cheese-type flavors the original source of which does not originally derive from a dairy ingredient but achieves a similar flavor profile.
For example, the company’s Edam vegan cheese prototype containes four types of vegan dairy flavors including cheddar- and butter-types that when used in balance with water, vegetable fat, starch, and salt results in a cheese-like taste.
“We started by adding in a butter flavor to build in some buttery richness and to mask some of the starch and mask the vegetable fat,” she said. “We added in cheddar-type flavors in there to build in savoriness and background cheesy notes.”
The company has also developed a vegan parmesan and is currently working on a vegan cheddar. Each cheese prototype uses the same base but varies in the amount and types of vegan dairy flavors used.
“It’s great for manufacturers and producers because they don’t have to buy loads of extra ingredients, they just have to use a different flavor,” Butler added.
One of the key opportunities for vegan-complaint dairy flavors is helping deliver the natural flavor indulgence associated with dairy products.
Edlong has found that most consumers, vegan or not, crave indulgent flavors, according to Butler.
“I think the goal is to still have indulgence and dairy is naturally very indulgent,” she said.