With a market expanding as rapidly as people's consciousness about health and the environment, companies are on a quest to find the perfect alternative to dairy products without compromising on taste or texture. Enter the era of plant-based alternatives – the future of 'plant better' is here today.
Supermarkets are stocked with plant-based products as consumer demand for familiar taste, texture, nutritional benefits, and sustainability grows stronger. The plant-based dairy category is booming, valued at $21 billion in 2022 and expected to rise to $36 billion by 2027. Alternative spreads and plant milk lead the charge, but there's a huge potential for growth in alternatives for butter.
Food and agribusiness giant, Bunge, has just released Beleaf – a range of plant-based lipids* for meat and dairy alternatives promising the sensory experience of traditional dairy. During the pandemic, the trend for plant-based bakery items surged, with vegan options becoming a staple rather than a specialty.
Artisanal bakeries now face the challenge of balancing consumer demand with rising operational costs. Bunge's response with Beleaf PlantBetter, is a modular fat system designed to replace dairy fat. It claims to replicate the sensory qualities of dairy butter, focusing on taste, health benefits, affordability, and reduced environmental impact.
Source: Public domain. Croissants made using plant better
Beleaf PlantBetter not only competes in cost with dairy fat but also offers a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and an extended shelf life. Bunge's innovation is a real game-changer, allowing the seamless substitution of dairy fat across a variety of applications.
Figures and consumer taste tests back the claim Beleaf PlantBetter matches the quality of dairy fat in terms of taste, mouthfeel, and performance, particularly in baking. Furthermore, it aligns with the growing consumer priority of sustainability, boasting a significant reduction in carbon footprint.
This development is monumental for 'old world' dairy protein production. as accurately mimicked non-dairy butter becomes part of a broader trends; definitive implications for established dairy countries like the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
These countries have strong dairy industries integral to their economies, employment, and export revenues. Some commentators suggest not enough is being done at government level to diversify quickly to meet growing consumer preference for non-dairy products which are both human and earth friendly.
Beleaf PlantBetter is really not just another alternative – it's symbolic of a shift towards a more sustainable and health-conscious future. It's a butter that's better – not just for the taste buds, but for the planet too.
*What is a Lipid?
A lipid is a category of organic compounds not soluble in water but soluble in organic solvents. Lipids are a diverse group of molecules and include fats, oils, waxes, certain vitamins (such as A, D, E, and K), hormones, and most of the non-protein membrane of cells. Here are some key points about lipids and why they play such an important role in the Human biology.
Energy Storage: They are an important source of energy for the body, providing more than twice the energy content per gram compared to carbohydrates and proteins.
Structural Components: Lipids are crucial structural components of cell membranes, providing a barrier that cells use to organize their internal structure and protect themselves from the external environment.
Insulation and Protection: In animals, lipids serve as insulation, keeping the organism warm, and act as a protective cushion for organs.
Signaling Molecules: Some lipids act as signaling molecules, such as steroids and prostaglandins, which can influence many physiological processes.
In the context of food science, and specifically relating to non-dairy butter alternatives, lipids are important because they contribute to the texture, flavour, and mouthfeel of food products. Plant-based lipids are being engineered to mimic the properties of animal-derived fats, which are traditionally used in products like butter.
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