- German flavor and fragrance producer Symrise Group created the Taste for Alternative Protein (TAP) initiative, geared toward developing ingredient solutions for products in the meat alternative, dairy alternative and nutritional beverage categories, according to a release sent to Food Dive.
- The Symrise Group — which includes Symrise and Diana Food — has a holistic approach to innovation. The company anticipates global plant-based trends through social media listening, as well as using proprietary software and chef networks to look at ingredient and flavor trends.
- The company said it is using this platform to also develop meat analogs that improve upon the taste, richness, masking, color and appearance of current market offerings, formulating “naturally tasty concepts.”
The plant-based market is projected to hit $24.5 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.1%, according to ingredients company Kerry.
Already a popular space for investment, the segment is continuing to see growing interest from companies and investors looking to capture consumer dollars. During the first half of 2020, more than $1.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins space — which is more than double the $534 million of investment during the entirety of 2019, according to FAIRR.
Still, even with more than a billion dollars sunk into the space this year alone, taste continues to remain a barrier to adoption of these alternatives. While the products' nutritional profile and protein content, as well as consumer desire for clean-label ingredients present challenges to manufacturers, taste remains the top barrier for plant-based substitutes, according to a white paper by Kerry.
Symrise wants to tackle this limitation head-on with its new TAP program. In the press release, Symrise noted Diana Food is part of this initiative through the use of its co-developed “Code of Nature” platform. These ingredients are integrated into TAP initiatives to provide more natural sourcing and preparation to “provide authentic taste solutions for plant-based products…(that) can be used to create targeted, signature taste profiles.”
Having an ingredients platform that not only focuses on taste but on natural and sustainably sourced ingredients may help give Symrise an upper hand. Product sustainability has become an even more pressing concern for consumers during the pandemic, according to a recent survey from global management and consulting firm Kearney.
The TAP platform also has the advantage of working to proactively identify trends and ingredients consumers are seeking, then developing solutions for manufacturers before a particular ingredient's popularity goes gangbusters and everyone begins scrambling to bring a product featuring it to shelves.
This initiative seems to be the culmination of years edging toward natural ingredients solutions that focus on taste. When the German company acquired Diana Food in 2014, the merger added knowledge in developing natural, raw material solutions.
Four years later, the company launched its “Code of Nature” taste solutions platform, which aims to process ingredients in a way that reduces the impact on nutrition, taste and the planet while creating fresher, better-for-you food. Last year, Symrise launched an application facility at the Unilever Foods Innovation Center at Wageningen University's campus in the Netherlands. It has a flavor creation lab, application kitchen and collaboration rooms.
Symrise is not alone in its mission to develop an ingredients platform that caters to today’s consumer looking for both healthier and more sustainable diets. Kerry recently introduced 13 new plant-based, allergen-free protein options made from pea, rice and sunflower protein sources. Symrise will have to continue to innovate and push out new solutions as the plant-based market continues to evolve in order to stay ahead of the pack and stand out.