Sacco looks to booming plant-based market with improved 4CHOICE range

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Sacco's 4Choice range consists of special cultures for the manufacturing of dairy alternatives. Pic: Getty Images/jchizhe
Sacco's 4Choice range consists of special cultures for the manufacturing of dairy alternatives. Pic: Getty Images/jchizhe

Related tags plant based

Italian-based biotech company Sacco Srl, a member of Sacco System, said the market of dairy alternatives is expected to grow from $17.3bn in 2018 to $29.6bn by 2023, with a yearly increase (CAGR) of 11.4% (Markets and Markets).

In the dairy alternative yogurt market, a similar trend is emerging, involving the expectations of flexitarians as the new customer leaders, and they are driving this category’s product consumption.

Angelo Suarez, Sacco System plant-based alternatives project manager, has experience in the development and production of fermented milk products, but is now working on the company’s plant-based portfolio.

Suarez said flexitarians are the “new kid on the block,” globally, adding, “Potentially every one of us could be considered a flexitarian since we have an innate curiosity to discover and try something new. So these product developers devote a lot of time and resources into including as much creativity in these plant-based products as possible considering many different mixtures of ingredients and packages useful to satisfy every kind of palate for every kind of daily situation.”

Suarez said consumers are drawn to dairy alternatives for nutrition, taste and texture, and a low environmental impact.

 “In the end, the real winner is the customer and their innate disposition to try new products and tastes. Taste becomes the medium that feeds their curiosity and satisfies it. However, this cyclical process will always bring something new. Plant-based products have one significant advantage on their side…there are numerous bases from which to choose and they are all unique in profile, resulting in a wide variety of options to discover and taste.”

Sacco has developed the 4CHOICE range in recent years, and Suarez said the company has developed its latest improved range for plant-based fermented products: 4Choice, special cultures designed for the manufacturing of non-dairy based products.

 “The demand for fortified dairy-free food and beverage products is increasing; the boom of non-dairy milk and yogurt products (soy, almond, rice, oat, coconut, hemp) is evident as well as the increase of global plant-based consumption.

 “4Choice is designed to provide health benefits to everyone - consumers are looking for natural food, less processed, and made with familiar and healthy ingredients. 4Choice is designed to provide better taste, optimal texture, and improved nutritional profile solutions.”

The focus is on clean labels, greater transparency, and more artisanal values, Suarez said.

No “additives” is still the top claim on new products launched globally and now the “no list” is the main trend, for example, no sugar, no colorants, and no artificial flavor.

“4Choice is a new dairy-free cultures range, composed of pure and controlled hypoallergenic cultures, free of any known allergen as well as animal-derived products,”​ Suarez said.

 “They are the perfect cultures for soy, coconut, oat milk, and any other plant-based fermented products, which ensure a good fermentation time, texture, flavor, and aroma development.”

Suarez added the 4Choice range ensures a uniform and controlled production of drinkable, set and stirred soy, rice, oat, almond, cashew nut, coconut and tarwi based fermented products.

The cultures are available as a freeze-dried (Lyofast) and frozen (Cryofast) solution.

The product range includes different cultures for finished fermented plant-based products.

The dairy-free starter cultures range is designed to ensure a uniform and controlled production of traditional drinkable, set and stirred soy, coconut, and rice fermented products. The renewed range has been developed to improve the viscosity level, gives a good fermentation performance, and guarantees a mild or traditional flavour depending on the selected plant-based matrix.

Its dairy-free mild starter cultures range is designed to ensure a uniform and controlled production of plant-based fermented products with less added sugar and a better taste. This solution allows for sugar reduction without losing sweetness. The range has been developed to allow a low post-acidification during shelf life.

Suarez said the dairy-free texturizing cultures range is an effective solution for improved creaminess, thickness, and mouthfeel of plant-based fermented products.

This solution is designed to support the product developers of plant-based fermented products, providing an ingredient that allows the use of fewer stabilizers with high shear resistance in a cost-effective way.

There is also a 4Choice mesophilic cultures range to tailor products depending on the matrix and the technologies producers are using.

Suarez noted the company’s 4Protection Special Protective Food Cultures range helps control and preserve the final product to prevent the growth of unwanted microorganisms in a natural way to maintain a “clean label” product, which ensures food safety and also contributes to a reduction in food waste.

 “Our 4Choice culture SYHB4 for nutritional value improvement can help to improve nutritional properties and sensory profiles of your fermented soy-based and legumes-based products,”​ Suarez added.

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