More people than ever before are eating vegetarian and vegan products, resulting in the significant market growth over recent years.
This increased demand is driven by a combination of factors from perceived health benefits to environmental and ethical concerns.
Food manufacturers are racing to make the most of this opportunity. Product developers are reacting quickly with a raft of innovative vegetarian and vegan options appearing on-shelf across categories; from dairy alternatives to headline-grabbing meat substitutes aimed at a discerning flexitarian audience. The exploration of vegetarian and vegan food should begin with a look at the innumerable different forms of vegetarians and vegans that exist. It is essential that manufacturers validate everything in order to show they are effective.
- Consistently create innovative products
Manufacturers who create vegan food that tastes good are bound to succeed. Taste is the number one reason vegans eat plant-based food products all over the world. Diet or environmental reasons also ranked high today. Manufacturers have to consider this and take a leap to create great-tasting products that will find more success in this growing industry.
- Industrial-scale processing technologies
The manufacture of vegetarian and vegan food products requires extensive fine-tuning and high-performance equipment to reproduce the taste, texture, appearance, and cooking function of animal products on an industrial scale. The following technologies are commonly used:
- Cutters and similar machines to produce vegetable masses.
- Intensive mixers combine structure-forming ingredients and other substances during the water phase, with the addition of vegetable fat, spices, and other additives.
- Cooking and heating equipment to achieve the functionality of ingredients and additives plus microbiological safety.
The wide spectrum of preferences represents a challenge for food (and ingredient) manufacturers who want to count vegetarians and vegans among their customers, example:
- Flexitarians – Occasionally choose to forgo meat and other foodstuffs derived from animals.
- Semi-vegetarians – a largely plant-based diet, occasionally containing meat, seafood and other animal products.
- Vegans – a plant-based diet that does not include any foods from animals (including fish, dairy products and honey).
- Fruitarians – a plant-based diet consisting of products that do not damage the plant itself. This includes fruit, nuts and seeds.