If you’re not experiencing pain and pressure in pursuit of the perfect plant protein, it’s coming down the proverbial pike.
I think I saw you at Expo West.
You thought no one was looking as you stealthily approached your competitor’s booth. Avoiding all eye contact, you grabbed a sample of every flavor and marched in the opposite direction.
Then your face said it all…“Yeah, they nailed it.”
Then you slumped in the corner…mumbling.
“Texture, mouthfeel, taste… yeah…we’re not even close to our own final product.”
“I don’t have the answers.”
“My team is not looking in the right place.”
“We’re short resources – our competitors are the life of the party, and they’ve got a full staff and a huge budget.”
The Monday after hit and Marketing is meddling.
Marketing: “Customers will jump at the high protein claim, taste be damned!”
You: “Really? It took a gallon of water and a chisel to clean the grit off my teeth of half those bars – you want to copy that??”
Marketing: “We need to thread the needle on pricing here to grab market share.”
You: “OK. Sure. And when you and your ideas come back to earth, we can discuss actual costs, competition, and the 37 other companies chasing the same prized pea.”
It’s enough to drive you crazy – are you a step away from “R&D rage”?
If so, we get it.
When it comes to developing novel, plant-based products, every step of the process has its own set of constraints. For a small, already over-burdened team, it’s bound to cause major issues.
What makes the plant-based protein movement different is the lack of credible, reliable information on the market.
I mean, how can you possibly find anything if you don’t know what you’re looking for?… if you don’t know what’s possible?
Here’s the answer, sort of, based on our extensive and exhaustive pursuit of what’s working and what should be left alone as rabbit food.
The perfect plant protein….well, to start….
1. It’s neutral in taste, odor, and color.
2. It’s a blank canvas.
3. It’s easy to work with – it can scale against applications…. a “plug-and-chug” method.
Let’s say you’ve managed to find a clean tasting, odorless, neutral-colored product.
It has to be functional… a story very unique to its processing!
Your next challenge is getting the right balances around solubility, emulsification, and foaming.
Gelation, dough formation… is it ticking off all the boxes?
No, maybe, almost?
Onward, your team hits more snags…
The Cross-Fit dude tested your vanilla-flavored protein shake, but ended up with a “Cement Shot” – now all his bro-s are slamming you.
The Orange Theory gal was excited to gulp down her creamy Strawberry drink, but couldn’t find a bush fast enough to spit out her first gulp…of course her friend Snap-chat-agram’ed it.
You were going for blueberry pie and got cold pea soup.
You were going for light and creamy – you got sandy and gritty.
You wanted distinct texture but all you got was a slime ball.
If you only had the time, you’d push onward and direct your team to…
1. Work with flavor houses for masking agents and recommended flavor options.
2. Experiment with acidifiers and salt.
3. Dive deeper into alternative proteins.
4. Get the gums right, mind the temperature, nail the conversion to production.
5. Explore agglomeration.
Next, you’d hone in on mouth-feel.
1. You’d test lowering or leveling the protein content.
2. You’d shear mix.
3. You’d look at homogenization.
4. You’d test the introduction of fats.
5. You’d test pasteurization hold times.
6. You’d do a deep dive into phosphate additives.
But yeah…that time and energy and “we don’t have enough people” thing.
Plant proteins present many of the same capabilities as animal-based products, but lack the years of invention and expertise we know and expect of dairy, meat, and countless other animal-derived products.
Welcome to your world, if you’re not already there.
It’s here, and no one, especially your competition, is going to wait on you.
Figuring out the answers is one thing.
Figuring them out faster is another beast.
How can your team manage the ship while conquering the seemingly-impossible?
That’s where hiring a consultant who’s already worked through many of your challenges can help.
A consultant can handle technical applications from concept through commercialization; if they have expertise in plant-based ingredients, they can take on as much of the headache and challenge as you’d like them to.
1. Bench-top formulations.
2. Strategic sourcing.
3. Compiling technical resources.
4. Managing third party solutions.
5. Sourcing, selecting, and managing co-manufacturers.
What does this mean to you?
You’ll have a dedicated, laser-focused, experienced individual or team dedicated to nailing your plant-based project – now.
No missed deadlines.
If you’re not already experiencing the pain and pressure in your pursuit of the perfect plant protein, it’s coming down the proverbial pike.
Call us – we’ll show you how we can help cut launch cycles for new, innovative plant-based products in food, beverage, and natural product categories.
Our consultants can help you leverage our network of solutions – from researchers, ingredient manufacturers, and co-manufacturers.
Our consultants can train your team – equipping them with the knowledge to assess obstacles and reach solutions faster.
In the battle of plant proteins, winners not only come first, they also must taste the best.
If you lack the expertise, time, or ability to meet your deadlines, maybe it’s time to reach out to a specialist.