Closing the nutritional gap: How Royal DSM wants to improve plant-based dairy

By Teodora Lyubomirova

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Enzymes microbiome Gut health Probiotics Cultures plant-based Dairy alternatives Nutrition

As the market matures, producing dairy alternatives that are nutritiously similar to traditional dairy is no longer optional, according to the ingredients specialist.

DSM’s recently-launched Plant Power Toolkit provides ingredients – from proteins and starter cultures to enzymes - that can improve the nutritional value of plant-based dairy alternatives. Alongside this, the toolkit offers tried-and-tested consumer concepts that can help manufacturers bring their products to market quicker.

“Our goal is to be a one-stop-shop solutions provider to give our customers all they need to create best-in-class plant-based fermented products,” Karoline Kjaerulff, global business development manager, fermented milk & plant solutions, told DairyReporter.

DSM’s new launches include four starter cultures and new ready-to-market concepts made with a variety of plant-based bases like oat and soy. The new cultures can be used to achieve different flavor profiles, a range of acidity levels and varied textures, enabling producers to fine-tune freshness, mildness, viscosity and smoothness, we were told. Also included are the company’s range of enzymes, cultures, hydrocolloids, proteins, and nutritional solutions.

Asked how manufacturers could benefit from this toolkit in practice, Kjaerulff explained: “The nutritional solutions in the toolkit were designed to bring plant-based applications up to the same level of nutrition as found in traditional dairy products.

“We focused on the nutrients that are most commonly present in dairy but not in plant-based alternatives such as calcium and vitamins B6, B12 and D. This means consumers who also consume plant-based alternatives can still benefit from relevant nutritional benefits.”

According to research carried out by Mintel, the global plant-based dairy alternatives market is worth €18bn/$20.9bn and growing annually by 4.5%. These favorable projections mean little, however, when it comes to pleasing the evolving consumer demands around taste, texture and health benefits.

DSM’s Kjaerulff claims that consumer expectations today are so high that manufacturers have no other option but to try and stand out through ingredient innovation. “Fortifying plant-based dairy alternatives takes manufactures beyond only conforming to dietary guidelines. In an increasingly competitive plant-based market - and with consumers shopping around to find products that best suit their specific taste, texture and health references - standing out is key.”

“Consumer expectations are maturing and high-quality nutrition is no longer a 'nice to have' but an integral part of people’s purchasing decisions. According to Mintel, 67% of European consumers are concerned that they will miss out on important nutrients when replacing dairy products with plant-based alternatives. And 68% agree that plant-based dairy alternatives should offer the same nutritional benefits as dairy products.”

One of the particularly appealing aspects of the toolkit is the trialed concepts that DSM says would significantly reduce the time required to launch a product, because it frees manufacturers from the requirement to manually test each ingredient separately. The concepts are based on popular substrates like coconut, canola, oat, pea and soy.

“A plant-based fermented application can easily contain up to 15 ingredients. Testing each in silo to evaluate the functionality is time and resource intensive,” Kjaerulff explained. “Our toolkit means we can save manufacturers time by recommending which ingredients and at what concentrations to use to create a harmonious final product.”

Beyond the new starter cultures, DSM says it’s working on other solutions that could offer manufacturers options to fine-tune the flavor profiles of food products – including expanding its probiotic offering.

Mintel, Plant-based dairy alternatives, Europe, 2022
FMCG Gurus, Identifying Key Trends in the USA and Europe, Plant Based Dairy Market, 2021

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