“Hello Hybrids” was one of the Top Ten Trends identified by Innova Market Insights last year. “Hello Hybrids” also is an apt description of a new retail product segment. This involves meat and milk products that contain greatly reduced amounts of animal ingredients but still appeal to confirmed carnivores, consumers who want to reduce the amount of animal products they eat for reasons of climate protection, animal welfare, sustainability or health. Likewise, these more mainstream consumers also are unwilling to make any compromises on flavor or consistency.
This is where combinations of animal and plant proteins come in. For this new category, Planteneers has developed stabilizing systems that already contain the plant component. They make it easy for meat producers and dairies to cut the animal ingredients in the final products by half. Thus, they can profit from the plant-based hype without completely eliminating meat or milk from their formulations.
Meat and Plants United
With the new blends in the fiildMeat+ range, Planteneers is closing the gap between flexitarians and meat eaters who have heretofore rejected plant-based alternatives for reasons of flavor.
“The meat market is enormous, with a worldwide production of 333 million tonns per year. Reducing the amount of meat in ready meals and meat preparations by half would have a great influence on the market,” notes Florian Bark, Product Manager at Planteneers. “Since the potential customers of these half-and-half products are mostly meat-eaters, this product range has tremendous sales potential.”
Whether for ready meals with burger patties and nuggets or fresh products like bratwursts and ground meat, with the plant-based fiildMeat+ compounds producers can make a variety of meat preparations. Depending on the recipe, protein-rich legumes like lentils or chickpeas are used, along with vegetables with the right flavor profiles.
“Wherever possible we avoid ingredients with E-numbers in our stabilizers, likewise flavorings and flavor enhancers,” says Bark. “The components for flavor and color are kept separate, as usual, to give manufacturers wide scope for adjustment. The stabilizing systems consist of proteins and other plant-based components. The final products can be made with normal machines.”
Plant-based Benefits for Dairy Products
Flavor, texture and appearance are advantages for hybrid products in the dairy space as well. With the compounds from the fiildDairy+ range and normal cow’s milk, dairies can make blends that reduce the amount of milk by 50%, replacing it with plant components. The final product might be a drink consisting of half milk and half oat drink, for example.
“In the development of our fiildDairy+ range we paid special attention to getting the original flavor of the milk products,” says Planteneers Product Manager Katharina Schäfer.
The new compounds form the basis for drinks, pudding, fermented milk products like yogurt, and cheese preparations.
Schäfer adds, “The final products can naturally be enriched with proteins, vitamins or minerals. In this way it’s possible to appeal to the steadily growing number of consumers who want to eat healthier.”
A survey done for an in-house master’s thesis shows the potential that the combinations offer. Of 2,000 respondents, most of them students, just under half would try a combined milk and plant-based beverage, for example. One-third would even buy it. Meanwhile, 46% of those surveyed said would like to see further hybrid dairy products. Thus, the combinations offer many new possibilities for dairies as well as for the meat industry.
Planteneers GmbH, headquartered in Ahrensburg, Germany, develops and produces custom system solutions for plant-based alternatives to meat, sausage and fish products, as well as cheese, dairy products and deli foods.
As a member of the independent, owner-operated Stern-Wywiol Gruppe with a total of 12 sister companies, Planteneers 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. As part of the Technology Center, the Plant Based Competence Center formed in 2019 is the creative pool for alternative solutions and the heart of Planteneers.
Customers also benefit from the Group’s international network of 17 affiliates and numerous qualified foreign representatives in the world's key markets, as well as the Group’s shared production facilities and own logistics resources. With revenues exceeding 500 million euros and some 1700 employees around the globe, Stern-Wywiol Gruppe is one of the world's most successful international suppliers of food & feed ingredients.