Masking Your Way To Plant-based Success

Healthy food alternatives are rapidly becoming the hottest topic in the food industry, especially in the arena of meat analogues, plant-based milks and sugar replacers where we are seeing the strongest market growth.

Plant proteins have become the hero ingredients of the 21st century which are supporting the nutritional and functional properties for the creation of meat and dairy analogues to cater to the growing vegan and flexitarian populations.

However, these protein sources do come with certain beany, earthy and bitter off notes. Overcoming these plant protein notes is a key challenge for the food industry at the moment and something which FSL and Aromatech have been focused on for the past two years.

Understanding the origin of these off tastes is the first step in understanding whether to tone down or mask it off. Take for example the off tastes in meat analogues and plant-based milks which are associated with the amino acids in plant proteins. In order to get rid of them, a specific amino acid can be removed during the manufacturing process of the plant protein, however this process requires a multidisciplinary approach and is much more complex.

Another option is to mask the off-tastes using a flavor masker which will neutralize the off-notes. Aromatech has developed a range of masking flavors which work perfectly in meat and dairy analogues. (We have also extended this work to apply to sugar substitutes such as date syrups which are a key aspect of our innovation projects).

It is important to understand that a masking flavor which works well in a meat analogue might not perform well in a plant-based milk as the protein ingredients used are different in each application. Hence each masking flavor is uniquely designed to address the particular molecules of each plant protein.

FSL’s technical team and flavor experts in Dubai are working to help our customers create mouth-watering flavor experiences for their plant-based products. This requires our customers to submit their bases and our teams then conduct a taste profile analysis and advise the best masking flavor solutions as per the ingredients being used. Our innovation team can also help our customers create their own plant-based meat and dairy based products from scratch, for which we have already developed flavor-masking solutions.