In the world of food and beverage manufacturing, incorporating plant-based lecithin into products has become a major trend. The natural emulsifier is extracted from various plants like soybeans, sunflowers, and rapeseed. It is used widely as an additive in food products that include baked goods, dairy alternatives, chocolates, and nutritional supplements.
While the benefits of using plant-based lecithin are numerous, manufacturers often face multiple challenges when trying to incorporate it into their existing recipes and processes. These challenges often include issues that relate to but are not limited to costs, quality control, and supply chain management.
In this article, we have explored some of these challenges and shared a few ways they can be overcome. Read on to learn valuable insights and successfully incorporate plant-based lecithin into your products.
Some of the most common challenges manufacturers face when incorporating plant-based lecithin or any new ingredient into their products are listed and explained below:
Incorporating plant-based lecithin in food and beverage products can be expensive compared to traditional animal-based lecithin. The cost of production and extraction of plant-based lecithin can be higher due to the additional processing required to obtain the desired purity.
Plant-based lecithin sources are limited, and the availability of raw materials can be a challenge. That challenge recently became mainstream when Russia attacked Ukraine, one of the biggest producers and exporters of sunflowers and soybeans. The increasing demand for plant-based lecithin in recent years put pressure on the supply chain as the unavailability of these plant sources caused a significant shortage in the supply of lecithin.
Maintaining consistent quality and purity of plant-based lecithin can be challenging due to variations in the raw material sources and the extraction process. This can affect the texture, flavour, and appearance of the final product. Another factor impacting quality control is the source of the source. For example, the quality of sunflower seeds from Ukraine is comparatively much higher than that of other countries, making the lecithin extracted from them of higher quality as well.
Plant-based lecithin may not be compatible with all types of food and beverage formulations, and manufacturers may need to modify their existing recipes and production processes to incorporate it successfully.
Manufacturers need to ensure that the product label accurately reflects the presence of plant-based lecithin and its source, as some consumers may have allergies or dietary restrictions.
Plant-based lecithin may have a shorter shelf life compared to animal-based lecithin, and manufacturers need to ensure that their products maintain their quality and safety over time.
Some consumers may be unfamiliar with plant-based lecithin or may have a preference for traditional animal-based lecithin due to taste, texture, or other factors. Manufacturers need to educate consumers about the benefits of plant-based lecithin and address any concerns or misconceptions they may have.
There are several ways to overcome the challenges shared above. Some effective strategies that manufacturers can use include:
Explore alternative sources and suppliers of plant-based lecithin. Connect with those who use newer technologies and equipment to provide an efficient product. Try to negotiate better pricing agreements with suppliers or simply partner with other manufacturers to achieve economies of scale.
Work with suppliers to secure a consistent supply. If funds are not an issue, invest in vertical integration, such as owning their own farms, to ensure supply chain reliability.
Manufacturers can implement rigorous quality control measures on the lecithin they source to ensure the consistency and purity of their final product. This can include testing batches of ingredients and demanding, optimised extraction processes from their suppliers. Though, a simpler way would be to work with a supplier like LECITEIN that strictly meets all the necessary EU standards.
Hire food scientists and technologists to develop formulations and production processes that are compatible with plant-based lecithin. If that’s not possible due to budget constraints, work with a supplier that provides technical assistance. Again, LECITEIN always tries to offer technical assistance to all its customers so they can always have the perfect blend and an unbeatable final product.
Manufacturers can ensure that their product labels comply with relevant regulations and clearly indicate the presence of plant-based lecithin and its source. They can also provide additional information to consumers to help them make informed purchasing decisions. To learn more about this, you can check out our detailed blog on the subject here.
Manufacturers can optimize their production processes to ensure the stability and shelf life of products containing plant-based lecithin. This can include using appropriate packaging, storage, and transportation methods.
Invest in marketing and education campaigns to educate consumers about the benefits of plant-based lecithin. Address any concerns or misconceptions they may have. This is also a great way to spread brand awareness and gain more customers. Also, offer samples or provide recipe ideas to encourage consumers to try products containing plant-based lecithin.
In conclusion, incorporating plant-based lecithin in F&B products can be a challenge due to various factors such as availability, cost, and functionality. However, with the increasing demand for plant-based and clean-label ingredients, it is a challenge that food and beverage manufacturers must address.
By exploring alternative sourcing options, leveraging technology, and collaborating with ingredient suppliers, F&B manufacturers can successfully overcome these challenges and incorporate plant-based lecithin in their products.
LECITEIN, a global supplier of plant-based lecithin, is committed to helping manufacturers overcome these challenges with not just high-quality lecithin, but also a dedicated team of technicians.
We are dedicated to providing high-quality and sustainable lecithin solutions, handling everything from product development to sourcing and logistics. If you are a food and beverage manufacturer looking for a comprehensive plant-based lecithin solution for your business, LECITEIN can help.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you meet your ingredient needs.