Food Forward

Innovative Bites: Crafting The Perfect Meatless Siew Mai Experience

Originally coined in the 1980s, the term “plant-based” did not gain significant attention on the global stage until 2015. The Mintel Global New Products Database revealed a 302% surge in new packaged consumer goods with plant-based claims from 2018 to 20221.

As we approach 2024, trend forecasts consistently highlight plant-based consumption as a fundamental aspect of the modern diet. Driven by rapid urbanization and evolving lifestyles, there’s a burgeoning trend towards nutritious and healthy food products, significantly propelling the global growth of the plant-based food industry. 

Green Revolution on Your Plate

The recent economic decline has led to a decrease in consumer interest in the plant-based food and beverage industry. Growing unease about personal finances is leading consumers to shift away from more expensive plant-based meat alternatives1.

While 2022 saw a minor dip in U.S. retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives, global retail sales recorded significant growth, maintaining robust consumer support. On a global scale, plant-based meat alternatives achieved retail sales totalling USD 6.1 billion in 2022, marking an increase in both dollar sales (+8%) and weight sales (+5%) compared to the previous year, particularly noteworthy was the significant growth observed in Latin America and Europe2. The global plant-based meat alternatives market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.1% during the forecast period (2023 – 2032)3.

Source: Good Food Institute, 2023

Also known as alternative proteins, plant-based meat alternatives are animal-free ingredients designed to replace animal proteins. They fundamentally differ by requiring less land and water inputs and significantly reducing environmental impact compared to animal proteins. They are also seen as having a smaller environmental footprint, being ethically preferable, and at times, offering health benefits. The adoption of alternative protein foods might help reduce the risk of antibiotic resistance and the outbreak of zoonotic diseases, which releasing more land for conservation and rewilding efforts4.

Nonetheless, numerous voices have criticized plant-based meat alternatives as ultra-processed products. Regardless of what’s being criticized, consumers should look at what’s in the ingredients themselves, plant-based meat alternatives can be healthy too. It offers a diverse range of proteins with varied amino acid profiles unlike those found in real meat. Certain plant-based meat alternatives are fortified with fibres and other health benefits absent in animal meats5.

“Plant-based is a sweet spot between many trends… it’s good for people’s health and it’s good for the planet.”

– Maxim Yermolayev, Nutrition Strategy Director –

 

Critical Challenges of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

  1. Addressing taste as the primary turn-off in plant-based meat alternatives

The predominant challenge hindering the consumption of plant-based meat alternatives is their taste. As shown in the graph below, the primary factor preventing consumers from trying plant-based meat alternatives, and the main reason why those who have tried them once or twice don’t continue purchasing, is the perception of taste2.

Top Barriers to Plant-Based Meat Alternatives, 20222

“51% of Thai consumers would be inclined to increase their consumption of plant-based meat alternatives if the taste closely resembled meat1.”

Hence, the challenge of attracting a broader consumer audience, plant-based brands need to concentrate on innovating and developing meal alternatives that effectively replicate the taste and texture of animal meat1. 

2. Textural limitations in plant-based meat alternatives

Over time, manufacturers have faced a challenge in mimicking plant-based meat alternatives textures, which are notably difficult to imitate. Mintel reported that about one-third of meat alternatives consumers in Germany express a preference for plant-based products that replicate the taste and texture of meat, as opposed to those that do not6.

3. Enhancing the Nutritional Quality of Plant-Based Meat Alternatives

Consumers persist in being more mindful and curious about the origins of their food. With 57% of consumers voicing health-related concerns, there’s a perception that a plant-based diet might lack sufficient nutrition7. Based on the chart shared earlier, “processedness” is one of the top barriers that the consumers haven’t tried or didn’t continue buying plant-based meat. Some consumers are interested in products that not only maintain taste but also offer cleaner ingredient labels and enhanced health benefits2.

The Potential Solutions for Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Industry

Challenges

Solutions

Brand

Description

Taste

Yeast Extract FP 412

Halcyon Proteins

High grade yeast extract derived from bakers’ yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae). It has strong umami taste with naturally occurring nucleotides and less than 5% of salt which brings a mild savoury profile.

Vegetable Protein Extract FP 500

Halcyon Proteins

A food ingredient produced by the acid hydrolysis of vegetable proteins and has an intense savoury flavour profile.

Texture

Beneo Pro W-Tex WF 65-5001

Beneo

A textured wheat protein offers a neutral flavour and a satisfying bite after hydration, making it versatile for various applications in both complete or partial meat replacement, without compromising on taste and texture.

Beneo Pro VWG 75

Beneo

A naturally derived from qualitative non-GMO wheat with high protein content and forms a viscoelastic matrix when fully hydrated, hence producing a strong mixture with good texture.

Remy FG P

Beneo

A finely milled pregelatinized neutral rice starch powder. It can be used as a natural fat replacer and mimic a full, fatty, or creamy mouthfeel.

Nutrition

Beneo Pro VWG 75

Beneo

Its natural production involves gentle milling, separation, and drying of the grain. It is a good source of essential amino acids which the body cannot produce itself.

 

Yeast Extract FP 412

Halycon Proteins

It comes from fresh yeast and no preservatives or additives added and no added MSG.

Designing a Captivating Consumer Journey

In showcasing the limits of what’s possible with plant-based meats, DPO International has crafted an exciting product concept – the plant-based Siew Mai. This innovative take on the classic Chinese dumpling is a testament to our commitment to blending tradition with modern health trends.

Our plant-based Siew Mai stands at the intersection of taste and wellness. Made with high-quality wheat and pea protein, these dumplings are not only high in protein but also cholesterol-free, catering to the nutritional needs of today’s discerning eaters. Their creation goes beyond culinary artistry; it’s about redefining the dining experience to align with contemporary health trends.

The appeal of our product extends to its packaging, designed to reflect freshness, health, and a sustainable choice. The vibrant, premium packaging highlights key attributes: no GMOs, no MSG, no preservatives, and the rich protein content. This clear, health-focused messaging is crucial in a market where transparency and ingredient quality are paramount.

At DPO International, a full-suite market enabler for food businesses, we collaborate with premier food ingredient producers like Beneo and Halcyon Proteins. Additionally, we are equipped to assist you in translating this trend into innovative concepts for your brand, from ideation and manufacturing, to marketing and distribution, we are here to provide you with the necessary support required for a successful product.

References:

  1. (2023). Emerging Trends in the Plant-Based Industry.
  2. Ignaszewski, E. (2023). 2023 Outlook: The State of the Plant-Based Meat Category. Good Food Institute.
  3. Polaris Market Research. (2023). Plant-Based Meat Market Share, Size, Trends, Industry Analysis Report, By Source (Soy, Wheat, Peas, Others); By Products; By Distribution Channel; By Region; Segment Forecast, 2023 – 2032.
  4. Bright Green Partners. (n.d.). Alternative Proteins: The Bigger Picture.
  5. Bambridge-Sutton, A. (2023). “What is Naturalness?” The Future of Plant-Based Food. FoodNavigator Europe.
  6. Ingredients Network. (2023). EU Consumers Seek Plant-based Products that Resemble “The Real Thing”.
  7. Naomi, B. (2023). A Whole New Plant-Based World for 2024? LinkedIn.