Consumption of plant-based foods is growing. New dietary, ethical and environmental trends are leading people to search for alternatives to animal or meat-based products.
Lycored is a global leader in all-natural, lycopene-based color and taste-enhancing ingredients for food and beverages, including plant-based foods. Our mission is to cultivate wellness in all areas of a consumer's lifestyle, and we are committed to taking high performing ingredients from nature and improving them.
A growing plant base
A 2019 survey by Ipsos Retail Performance revealed the popularity of veganism and plant-based diets in the United States. There has been a marked growth in followers of a plant-based diet, from an estimated 290,000 in 2005 to more than 9.7 million today.
Consumer market analysts FMCG Gurus recognized similar trends in their recent global study which revealed 34% of global consumers follow a diet centering on meat avoidance or limitation. Of these consumers, 22% revealed they chose to give up meat in the last 12 months and another 39% were considering doing so over the same period.
To attract both vegetarians and flexitarian consumers to plant-based food products, including meat alternatives, ingredient lists need to be clean. That includes the colorants added to make foods more appetizing for all consumers.
Plant protein sources
Proteins, plant cellulose fibres and other base building blocks for plant-based foods and drinks come from a variety of sources. The industry is currently engineering foods out of proteins derived from a broad, but proven variety of all-natural, clean-label plant sources:
- Soy protein
- Pea protein
- Chickpea protein
- Seaweed protein
- Cell-based cultures
From an economic and technical standpoint food engineers have five primary choices to naturally color foods:
Only three of these are suitable for plant-based foods. Although considered a relatively all-natural and practical red hue source for many food products, carmine is made from insects and is therefore not an acceptable choice.
Super-stable colors from super tomatoes
Lycored's all-natural colors are derived from the company's purpose-bred super tomatoes, as well as its own strain of Blakeslea Trispora fungus.
Of all the natural color sources, lycopene-based colors are proving to provide an excellent coverage for plant-based meats and deliver the color integrity and stability manufacturers need, despite many stringent production and consumer preparation processes.
Stability studies reveal lycopene's stability and staying power
Focusing on plant-based cold cuts like delicatessen ham slices and sausage-style encased meat alternatives, Lycored's scientists compared lycopene to the two popular all-natural color alternatives: beet and iron oxide.
Test data revealed that lycopene-based colors outperformed all competitors relative to stability to process (including high shear), heat (cooking) and light and provided an authentic ham or sausage-like (hot-dog) hue. Lycored offers a number of shade variations all of which perform with a delta E (level of color change over typical shelf life) of below 4, which means very slightly visible to the naked eye.
Colorful, long-lasting performance
Lycored colors are Non-GMO, vegan, Kosher, Halal, allergen-free, taste and pH-neutral and demonstrate robust stability under a wide range of ultra-violet (UV) and high-temperature storage and lighting conditions. Every hue in Lycored's cast of colors has a memorable name to reflect the vibrancy of its performance and stability in food and beverage products.
Evoking visions of color and taste, food developers can choose from top performers including SteadfastScarlet™, ConstantCrimson™, OrangeOvation™, GoldHold™ and StellarYellow™. To find the right hue for any plant-based food performance access Lycored's HueFinder™ here.
High-performance, clean-label umami flavor too
Lycored's tomato-focused science isn't just focused on color. The company also applied its science to develop all-natural SANTE™, an umami taste enhancer. SANTE provides a high concentration of natural compounds for a more naturally appealing taste and a cleaner label formulation thanks to reduced levels of undesirable ingredients including salt, sugar, MSG and yeast.
Lycored's analysis showed the all-natural tomato-based alternative to flavor additives offers significant levels of sugar and salt reduction – above 40% in many cases, and in some cases as much as a 100% reduction in added salt or sugar – a great opportunity for healthier "zero added" claims. SANTE provides the perfect foundation for building great taste into soups, sauces, condiments, dressings, and prepared foods of all kinds.
A last look at lycopene
Food engineers seeking both clean label and plant-based colors for their recipes have limited choices for red and similar hues, but not all have the color intensity, processing integrity and stability needed. Lycopene-based colors offer authentic color integrity and the processability the food industry needs to deliver the appetizing hues consumers require to change deeply ingrained habits and eat more plant-based foods.
For more information visit www.lycored.com.