The trend of veganism has grown significantly in recent years. People are now more conscious of their health, the environment, and animal welfare. This has led to a surge in demand for vegan products. Manufacturers are now in a race to meet this ever-growing demand.
A simple way they have adopted to achieve this is through the use of plant-based lecithin as a core ingredient in packaged edibles. But, before we go into more depth on that, let’s take a look at what caused this sudden shift in the market:
There are several reasons why people are turning to a vegan lifestyle, the main being health. Vegan diets mostly contain ingredients derived from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, making them rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals; the essentials for maintaining good health. Such diets are also known to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other chronic ailments.
Furthermore, plant-based diets have typically low contents of saturated fat. With the elimination of animal products from their diet, vegans are able to reduce their saturated fat intake, resulting in improved heart health. In addition, lower cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure, and improved blood sugar control can also be experienced through the consumption of vegan diets.
Another big reason is the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. The livestock industry contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, and water pollution. Not to mention, the concern for animal welfare.
Lecithin is a type of lipid that is commonly used as an emulsifier in food products. It is extracted from a variety of sources, including certain plants like soybeans, sunflowers, rapeseed; egg yolks, and animal fat.
However, the rise of vegan diet trends has necessitated that manufacturers opt for an emulsifier that satisfies their consumers regardless of their diet preferences and without increasing costs. Plant-based lecithin became the logical solution. Though, these aren’t the only reasons manufacturers prefer using plant-based lecithin for their products.
The key benefit of using plant-based lecithin in vegan-friendly edibles is its ability to improve texture and mouthfeel. Both are crucial factors in determining the quality of food products. Achieving the right texture and mouthfeel to meet consumer expectations is one of the main challenges in creating vegan products.
Sunflower lecithin or soy lecithin effectively resolves this challenge. Since lecithin acts as an emulsifier, it can easily bind together water and oil-based ingredients and delivers a smooth and creamy texture.
It can improve the elasticity and structure of baked goods as well, making them more appealing to consumers. Also, when added to vegan ice cream, it can improve the dessert’s creaminess and smoothness. Plant-based lecithins also help to keep products stable, especially those with high water content. That’s why it’s added to mass-produced salad dressings, mayonnaise, and tons of other sauces.
And, that’s not all. Plant-based lecithin can also act as a natural preservative, extending the shelf life of most products it’s added to. It does this by preventing the growth of microorganisms that cause spoilage and diminish product quality. The final impact of using plant-based lecithin doesn’t remain limited to just the end product but also reflects on the business’s bottom line disguised as improved profitability.
In conclusion, plant-based lecithin offers numerous benefits for manufacturers looking to meet the growing demand for vegan products.
Just like its many benefits, plant-based lecithin also has a wide range of applications in the F&B industry to satisfy the demand for vegan diets. From spreads and sauces to baked goods and beverages, it can be seamlessly added to most food products for one reason or the other. Some examples of vegan products that contain plant-based lecithin include:
The plant-based emulsifier helps create a smooth and creamy texture in vegan mayonnaise. It also stabilises the emulsion to prevent the separation of ingredients over time.
The amazing texture and mouthfeel of non-dairy milk are due to the addition of plant-based lecithin. Additionally, it also helps prevent the separation of ingredients, resulting in a more stable product.
It’s used in vegan cheese to improve its texture and melting properties. Extending the shelf life and preventing the growth of microorganisms are also a few reasons for adding plant-based lecithin to vegan cheese.
Plant-based lecithin is added to plant-based yoghurt for the same reasons as non-dairy milk, improved texture and mouthfeel, emulsion, and stability.
Apart from improving its texture and mouthfeel, plant-based lecithin also helps in preventing the formation of ice crystals in vegan ice creams, resulting in a smoother and creamier product.
The main purpose for using plant-based lecithin in vegan protein bars is to bind together the ingredients for a more cohesive and appealing product. Improved texture and stability are fringe benefits.
Other applications include the improvement in meltability and the retention of moisture in some other products.
In conclusion, manufacturers who use plant-based lecithin in their food products can appeal to a broader customer base and tap into the growing market for vegan products. Provided, they don’t use any animal-based ingredients in their recipes.
Plant-based lecithin can be incorporated into various F&B products in a variety of ways. It can be added to the recipe as a powder, liquid, or granule, depending on the specific product and manufacturing process. In some cases, it may be necessary to blend the plant-based lecithin with other ingredients before incorporating it into the product to ensure even distribution.
The specific amount and method of incorporating plant-based lecithin will depend on the product, but with the right formulation, it can greatly improve the quality and appeal of food products to vegans.
Manufacturers who are interested in buying plant-based lecithin can contact LECITEIN to learn about available options. We supply globally and are always willing to discuss any problems that you may be facing. For more details, email us!