Food that’s good for you should also taste good

Alternative proteins are gaining ground. Not only vegans and vegetarians but an increasing number of customers who care about sustainability are selecting them. An interview with Regina Lueghausen, VP Global Marketing Flavor Division.

Alternative proteins are now mainstream. Has COVID-19 been a push factor? Due to COVID-19, the offering of plant-based products became larger, because consumers apparently perceive them as healthy and safe. That means the alternative protein products segment is on an even stronger course for growth.

Is this a global phenomenon? Or does it exist largely in certain markets? Plant-based products are gaining ground globally, and particularly in industrial societies. North America and the EAME region are focal points. But Symrise teams are also now developing new concepts in APAC and LATAM, where soy plays a major role. These concepts are based on regional taste preferences and appear in correspondingly relevant product formats that go beyond the typical veggie burger.

Which insights has Flavor gained from consumer studies on alternative protein products? Our marketing and consumer insight teams have carried out extensive studies worldwide. One finding is that in the EAME region, many consumers want a product that tastes, feels and looks like meat. At the same time, another large group of consumers is interested in trying new kinds of products such as falafel, small balls made of chickpeas. Preferences vary widely, and we have reacted to this.

What does the concentration on plant-based products mean for Symrise? The plant-based product segment is growing globally. Here too, our business approach mirrors the duality of the end consumer: Even though plant proteins are gaining ground, people still eat meat. It’s just that a portion of meat consumption is gradually being replaced by alternative protein products. For instance, the Sunday roast is still important in the United Kingdom. At the same time, though, consumers have chickpea hummus or coconut-based ice cream in their shopping carts. If consumers like the taste of the plant-based products, they gradually integrate them into meals, thus indirectly reducing CO2 emissions that are caused by livestock farming. In this way, we can indirectly make a positive contribution to society.

How do you deal with consumer demand for “clean label” alternative protein products? Consumers want to know what the products they are eating consist of. Flavor delivers natural taste solutions that are labeled in an understandable way. Our regulatory department provides fantastic advice to internal teams and to customers who are looking to develop ingredient lists that are relevant to consumers.

All UN Sustainability Objectives are in the SymPortal:

Customers most appreciate the culinary complexity that we can deliver.
Regine Lueghausen, VP Global Marketing Flavor Division

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