Malt Products Corporation (MPC), a manufacturer of malted barley extract and other natural, nutritious sweeteners, has experienced an uptick in demand for its all-natural sweeteners in the burgeoning vegan ice cream market. The increased interest showcases both heightened consumer engagement with pantry-friendly ingredients and the particulars of providing vegan dairy alternatives with attractive taste and texture.
Finding the right sweetener for vegan ice cream has two main challenges. First and foremost, not all sweeteners are vegan certified. For example, many common sugar products depend on animal parts, such as bone char, for coloring improvement.
Another issue involves the market segment. Consumers seeking vegan food options largely intersect with those demanding all-natural, pantry-friendly ingredients. This proclivity often eliminates from consideration high-fructose corn syrups and other prominent sweeteners, even if they could technically be considered vegan.
Once those factors are addressed, texture become another significant consideration. Here, all-natural sweeteners like MPC’s TapRite™ tapioca extract and RiceRite™ brown rice-based sweeteners offer a lower dextrose equivalent (DE). This provides bulking and controls ice crystal growth—bringing a creamy consistency to vegan ice cream that may otherwise be difficult to realize.
Meanwhile, sweeteners such as MPC”s OatRite™ oat extract, as well as certain vegan-certified items in its CaneRite™ sugar cane molasses portfolio, help provide appropriate taste to popular flavors such as Mocha, Crème Brulee and Cookies & Cream.
In addition to being all natural, many of MPC’s sweeteners contain health benefits such as proteins and antioxidants. Many also offer digestive benefits by optimizing good bacteria while minimizing bad bacteria – an important distinction as many vegans are highly attuned to microbiome gut health.
Vegan ice cream is just one of many food and beverage applications with which Malt Products Corp. customers can experiment through the company’s new Innovations Lab. The new space is designed for MPC customers to test ingredients, try new formulations and gain insight into critical flavor and stability properties. The lab incorporates a variety of recent infrastructure investments including ovens, mixers, shearers, proofers and temperature-controlled incubators, as well as analytical equipment such as spectrometers and instruments monitoring water activity and rheology.
“The emergence of vegan ice cream is a logical next step from non-dairy ice creams, which have been incredibly popular for quite some time,” notes Amy Targan, president of Malt Products Corp. “Companies trying to create niche version of traditional food products – in this case, ice cream – frequently face challenges finding ideal formulations that meet specific criteria while still appealing to a target consumer subset. Many are finding our MaltRite, OatRite and certain molasses varieties as highly attractive options to sweeten vegan ice cream, which can be a delicate dance from an ingredients perspective.”
About Malt Products Corporation
Founded in 1957 and headquartered in Saddle Brook, NJ, Malt Products Corporation (MPC) is a leading manufacturer and distributor of malted barley extract and natural sweeteners.
MPC has grown from a regional supplier of malts to an international company offering a full line of natural sweeteners serving a wide range of industries, such as bakery, confectionary, beverages, snack foods and cereals, pet food, animal nutrition, and pharmaceutical. MPC products are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility in Dayton, OH. Product quality and customer service have been fundamental to MPC’s growth.