“Most of our portfolio is based on clean label ingredients for plant-based, and potato has unique functionalities ... like replacing animal proteins with a similar performance in terms of emulsification levels. We can replace egg whites with a very similar gel upon heating performance."
Recreating the stretch, melt of animal-based cheese in a plant-based analogue
Launched at the event, PerfectaSOL is Avebe’s “next-generation potato protein” that “not only mimics animal-protein functionality but [creates] something new,” Tüzün said. And at its IFT First booth, the company demoed the ingredient in shredded, sliced, and cubed cheeses, veggie donuts, and aloo tikki potato cookies.
The company's PerfectaSOL range addresses the historical challenge to plant-based dairy formulations by providing a similar texture as traditional cheese and dairy products while also providing a neutral taste and color to product formulations, she said. Given that potatoes aren’t a common food allergen, PerfectaSOL is ideal for allergen-free and clean-label formulations, she added.
“If we think about plant-based alternative to pizza cheese like mozzarella, what would the consumer expect from a plant-based pizza is that they have the correct eating experience like when you bite the pizza, you would expect some stretch.”
PerfectaSOL can also replace eggs, Tüzün said. And given the issues with bird flu and disease, these alternatives can be an important ingredient for food and beverage manufacturers during supply chain issues, she explained.
Potato proteins also offer several sustainability benefits over other plant-based proteins, Tüzün claimed. Avebe worked with consultancy agencies and documented how potatoes are more sustainable in terms of land and water usage, while also producing lower co2 emissions than other plant proteins, she added.
Innovating around nutrition, preparing for the future of alt meat
As Avebe looks to work with food manufacturers on new plant-based cheese and dairy formulation, plant-based cheese has seen significant decline, as the plant-based meat side also struggles to return to its former glory. Both plant-based meats and cheeses saw unit sales decline 8% in 2022, according to a recent Good Food Institute report.
When asked about these changing dynamics within the alternative meats market, Tüzün pointed out that there is an opportunity for the company to grow around burgeoning areas of development, including cultivated meat and plant-based/animal-based hybrid products.
“We see that the near future is going in the direction of cultivated and lab-grown meat alternatives, or hybrids between cultivated and plant-based meat alternatives. In all cases these products require texturing agents, to build a meat-like texture, bite, juiciness. Our range of potato-based proteins, starches and fibers is very well able to fulfill these texture needs.”
The company is also working to innovate around nutrition, she said.
“We continue to innovate with our potato proteins, continue to innovate with our sustainability, and we would like to be the number one in terms of providing our customers what they expect, like in terms of nutrition, in terms of health aspects. And in terms of indulgence ... in brackets is taste, appearance, and the right texture.”