- Fora Foods is set to launch this spring a plant-based butter made with aquafaba, the liquid residue from canned or cooked chickpeas, according to Food Navigator. The ingredient is used to bind water, coconut oil and a plant-based liquid oil that makes up the butter.
- The start-up claims its product has a "creamy, dairy-like mouthfee" that "tastes, cooks, bakes, melts and spreads like butter," Fora Foods co-founder Aiden Altman told the publication.
- "Aquafaba is a great, clean label, natural emulsifier, but from a sensory perspective it also adds a depth of flavor which allows us to mimic that of grass-fed dairy butter," Altman said.
The consumer's love for both indulgence and clean label food solutions has greatly shaped the industry of late. There also has been a shift in consumer attitudes toward fats and oils — a few years ago, shoppers did everything in their power to avoid fatty foods. Today, many now view them as a key part of a healthy diet. Some shoppers, especially millennials, have even gone so far as to embrace lard and other minimally-processed animal fat products as a natural, authentic way to flavor their food.
But despite this growing acceptance of ingredients such as tallow, "healthy" fats are more often associated with plant-based sources like avocados and coconuts. This has driven the rise of specialty oils from nutrient-rich ingredients, including sesame, flax, nuts, hemp and grapeseed, as well as more innovative sources like algae.
This interest in plant-based fats also has spurred demand for clean label butter products. There are already several non-dairy butters on the market, but many consumers associate products like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, Country Crock and other big names in the category with over-processing and additives.
The creators of Faba Butter believe this gap between consumer desire and product availability will give their vegan butter room to shine. The product is free from preservatives and other artificial ingredients, which is a top concern for millennial and Gen Z shoppers.
Even though aquafaba may not be as well known as other plant-based sources, it has begun to appear in more product launches. For example, the chickpea residue has been used as a vegan replacement for eggwhites in meringues and baked goods, and is a key ingredients in Sir Kensington's Fabanaise vegan mayonaise. The ingredient has emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties, making it adaptable for cooking and baking.
Fora Foods hopes a marketing campaign that emphasizes the product's clean label, as well as the company's stated goal of producing sustainable products, will encourage consumers to try it.
"Dairy butter uses so much land, water, food... we aim to create a sustainable choice with no concessions on flavor or functionality," Altman told Food Navigator.
The company also is working to create alternatives to whipped cream, frosting and dressing using aquafaba. Time will tell if the product is passed over for more recognizable butter solutions, or if Faba Butter's clean label, environmentally conscious and functional value adds are enough to draw consumers. If the product is a success, it could point to a lucrative opportunity for major manufacturers to enter the space and reach untapped vegan consumers.