Innova Market Insights identifies the plant-based revolution is one of the world’s top trends. And that’s with good reason: the market for plant-based foods shows double-digit growth. 

Stabilizing and texturing specialist Hydrosol saw the potential of this category early on. In 2014, the company brought to market the first functional systems for making plant-based alternatives to cheese and sausage. Since then, its portfolio of innovative product ideas has grown enormously, and Hydrosol is now an established international expert for plant-based alternatives. 

Most recently, the company bundled all of its expertise in a creative pool, the newly established Plant Based Competence Center. Here, product managers, nutritionists, food technologists and marketing specialists develop creative concepts to address the trends on international markets. 

“In the last few years we’ve done hundreds of application tests on plant-based products, and have built up a solid database on the characteristics of different proteins. The database is continuously growing,” says Dr. Dorotea Pein, head of product management at Hydrosol. 

She adds, “This wealth of experience is the foundation of our new Plant Based Competence Center. Here, we advise customers on the ideal choice of proteins, as well as on trends, flavoring and nutritional enrichment. Our goal is not just to give customers ideas for plant-based alternative products, but also to deliver concepts with high added value.”

Generation Next: Nuggets, Fish Alternatives

The HydroTOP VEGAN Patty series is a good example of this. It can be used to make a wide range of alternative meat products, including a new generation of plant-based nuggets. The wheat and pea protein texturate provides the long fiber structure, pleasing bite and a light color associated with chicken. 

Plant-based alternatives to meat, sausage and dairy products have gone mainstream, and fish alternatives are set to be the next big thing in the vegan category. Hydrosol has developed product ideas for this new market segment. For example, the HydroTOP VEGAN RB 5 is a full compound based on a rice texturate that is ideal for making vegan alternatives to breaded fish sticks and fish filets. 

Another new product is alternative tuna, which looks and tastes like canned tuna fish and can be used in many ways. 

The main reasons people choose plant-based substitutes involve considerations of sustainability, animal welfare and climate change. This is where fish alternatives come in. Environmental organizations already advise cutting back on consumption of ocean fish, due to overfishing.

“Plant-based alternatives to fish products are in high demand right now,” notes Dr. Pein. “Many manufacturers are looking for new concepts in this category, which has enormous sales potential.” 

Eggless Egg Patties

Another highlight from the Plant Based Competence Center is a new compound for plant-based alternatives to egg patties. 

These are normally based on mung bean protein, but Hydrosol has now developed a version using potato, chickpea and yeast protein. 

The finished, stirred mass is simply filled into sausage casings, the same kind used for cold cuts. Thus, the product can be used in large amounts or small pieces, or as pre-sliced patties frozen for later use. These can be fried directly on a flat grill without thawing, and are ready to eat in just a few minutes. 

The light, fluffy texture and full yellow color are almost identical to scrambled egg, and the flavor is also very close to an authentic hen’s eggs. These plant-based egg patty alternatives are perfect for the convenience and out-of-home markets, especially bakeries and quick- service restaurants. 

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About Hydrosol: 

Hydrosol GmbH & Co. KG headquartered in Ahrensburg near Hamburg, Germany, is a fast-growing international supplier of food stabilizers, with subsidiaries around the world. Its specialists develop and produce tailor-made stabilizer systems for dairy products, ice cream and desserts, delicatessen foods and ready meals, as well as meat, sausage and fish products. The company also supplies solutions for vegetarian and vegan alternatives to meat, fish and dairy products. 

With its international network of 16 affiliates and numerous qualified foreign representatives, the company is represented in the world's key markets. As a subsidiary of the independent, owner-operated Stern-Wywiol Gruppe with a total of 12 sister companies, Hydrosol can make use of many synergies. The company has access to the knowledge of some 100 R&D specialists and to the extensive applications technology of the large Stern-Technology Center in Ahrensburg, Germany. It also benefits from shared production facilities and the Group's own logistics resources, so it can offer customers a high degree of flexibility and innovation capabilities. 

The Stern-Wywiol Gruppe is one of the world's most successful international suppliers of food and feed ingredients.