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What is a plant-based diet?

As members of the food industry and also simple consumers, we hear more and more about the plant-based diet. What is it exactly? The plant-based diet focuses on foods primarily derived from plants. It does not only include fruit and vegetables, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. It can also include food and ingredients from an animal source, so a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean vegetarian or vegan. Dairy and meat products are not banned, but the choice should be proportionately more from plant sources.

As the plant-based movement is gaining more traction, it is now common to refer to plant-based food as products that are direct replacements for animal-based products. This is for example the indication by The Good Food Institute[1] a US-based nonprofit organization that promotes plant-based meat, dairy, and eggs as well as cell-based meat, as alternatives to the products of conventional animal agriculture. Although not biologically classified as plants, fungi- and algae-based products are included as well in their definition of plant-based foods.

Why is vegan and plant-based food booming?

Sustainability is a key word when looking at the growth of the plant-based market.[2] The demand in terms of water and land needs is much greater to produce animal protein when compared to growing plant proteins, and consumers seem to be more conscious than ever before, regarding the long-term environmental impact of their choices.

According to different studies, vegan and vegetarian diets demonstrate a support to health and well-being, including a lower risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as increased longevity.[3]

These concerns are clear in consumers’ minds. Additionally, one cannot underestimate the impact and re-enforcement coming from significant investments made by private and venture capital firms such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which backed companies that have become synonymous in the plant-based industry, such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods.[4]

The fast development of meat-mimicking options with closer-to meat characteristics, have also recently attracted “taste-driven, meat lover” consumers to select animal-free meals. Nowadays, there are a wide array of plant-based options, including: meatless meats, fish and dairy free products, such as beverages, yogurts & cheese. The growing availability and options offered by restaurants and QSR has also been a key driver for this market’s growth.

Who are we?

The Bio-Ingredients division of Lallemand develops, manufactures and markets high-value products. Using research and development, proven results and knowledge from experience, Lallemand Bio-Ingredients applies the right yeasts for the right applications to have the greatest impact for customers.

Care about the Planet and the willingness to give consumers multiple beneficial options to follow their lifestyle and culinary wishes, lead us to present our solutions for the plant-based market.

Yeast, let’s know more

Yeast is a unicellular fungus and even though botanically does not belong to the plant kingdom, from a nutrition and culinary perspective it fits in with the plant-based offer, including the suitability for vegan, vegetarian and of course flexitarian diets. Looking in depth into our portfolio, we could highlight different areas where we can support our customers to innovate and promote delicious plant-based meals.

In the food industry we can use different yeasts. For inactivated yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Torula are the most commonly utilized.

Whole cell inactive yeast and its derivatives, autolyzed yeast and yeast extracts, can add to the preparation of delicious plant-based meals by contributing with their multiple properties in different areas.

Masking Vegan proteins

The incorporation of novel plant-based proteins into foods could be challenging due to undesired bitter notes and unfamiliar “green“ flavors, typical of the vegetable proteins from soy, pea, potatoes and other vegan sources. We suggest the Toravita® range to support R&D in the development of a neutral matrix built on plant proteins, thanks to its masking properties. Toravita® 001, 600 and 300 are particularly suitable for this purpose, as they are highly versatile in masking proteins from different sources and contributing with a desired, umami profile.

Download the recipe as an indication!

Rounding up Taste

Umami was identified at the beginning of the 20th century as the 5th taste. It is the taste of “savoryness” and the word derives from the Japanese “umai”, meaning delicious, nice and palatable. It is represented as a meaty, brothy taste with a mouth-watering sensation. The umami sensation is typical of many different ingredients rich in proteins, such as cheese, preserved fish, meat extract. Yeast extracts that are suitable for plant-based meals, can bring in these desired umami notes. Kokumi is another relevant profile in the food preparation and it represents the good balance of the five tastes. Selected yeast extracts, rich in nucleotides or other components, such as glutathione, are key to adding umami and kokumi taste to the plant-based preparations. They help to enrich the taste of the meal, enhancing the perception of spiciness and saltiness, adding depth and long-lasting sensations, delivering an overall, complete taste. Contact us for your needs!

Flavor Impact

How to bring in meaty notes in meals that are suitable for vegan diets?

Yeast extracts, inactive yeast and yeast-based flavors provide suitable and tasty solutions to the plant-based players.

Our range of yeast-based ingredients would provide different meaty directions, from boiled chicken long lasting notes, with Savor-Lyfe® CB to beef extract alternatives with Savor-Lyfe® BEC. You can expect more to come, as we are looking right now into solutions for the veggie-fish market!

Savor-Lyfe® SSC is another innovative flavor based on yeast ingredients. Join the enthusiasts of our allergen free alternative to soy sauce! Contact us to receive samples!

Dietary complements

Plant-based diets offer all the necessary protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals for optimal health and are often higher in fiber and phytonutrients. However, some vegans may need to add a supplement (specifically vitamin B12) to ensure they receive all the nutrients required.[1] The Engevita® range of premium nutritional yeast naturally contains B-complex vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients (rich in calcium, iron and zinc). Vitamin and mineral yeast and premium nutritional yeast are ideal ingredients to use for food fortification in order to achieve a complete nutritional profile without compromising a natural formulation. Yeast ingredients attain clean labels and boost the concentration of vitamins, protein, fiber and bioactive molecules in healthy natural foods. To learn more, visit the Health Ingredients area of our website!

Video Plant-based

How do you imagine your Plant-based food? We believe yeast-based ingredients play a great role in making plant-based food fitting consumers’ wishes. Check out this video summarizing our proposals.

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