For many products, free-from also means free-from taste. Despite rapidly growing consumer demand, reduced sugar and sodium products often leave consumers disappointed.
According to an article from Food Business News, over the last five years snacking products with non-GMO claims have climbed by more than 18% a year, and sales of products with no sugar or with reduced sugar have seen sales increase by 11% a year. Meanwhile the average snack has only grown 1.2% over that time.
The spread of free-from snacking isn’t limited to only the United States, either. According to an article from foodnavigator.com, free-from sales grew 11.7% in Western Europe, and 8.7% in Eastern Europe in 2017 alone. Within this category, dairy-free and gluten-free increased the most.
All of this demand has led to an explosion of free-from products, all fighting for shelf space. While earlier products could get away with delivering a less-than-satisfying experience, today’s more competitive climate simply won’t sustain inferior-tasting options. Food developers who can’t deliver the taste profiles customers expect, in healthier formulations, will be left off the shelves. In a study from Mintel research, taste was the reason cited by most U.S. adults for eating plant-based proteins (52%), followed by health (39%), the environment (13%), animal protection (11%), and diet (10%).
How do you meet demand?
How can you build culinary indulgence into sweet and salty free-from snacks? Simple—with dairy flavors, including dairy flavors that are completely dairy-free and vegan. That’s what’s so surprising about authentic dairy flavor: it delivers the foundational layers of richness that help food product developers achieve Gold Standard taste for products without gluten, dairy, allergens and more.
Edlong has long delivered the dairy taste that makes an impact, including more than 250 dairy-free and vegan flavors. The off-notes from plant proteins can give healthy alternatives a bad name. But our dairy flavors mask those unfriendly notes while bringing back the mouthfeel and richness that may otherwise be missing.
At Edlong we are also experts at satisfying global, cultural and local palates. Recently, we participated in the Free From Functional Food Expo in Stockholm, Sweden. We showcased innovative demos made with Edlong flavors including a dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan caramel and chili cheese popcorn mix that featured rich buttery notes along with white chocolate and cheesecake flavors, paired with a spicy chili cheese. We also sampled a delicate vegan meringue treat made from aquafaba, that masked the meaty and metallic notes of chickpeas with a sweet, natural vanilla custard flavor and texture.
In short, free-from doesn’t have to mean free from indulgence, sweetness and deliciousness. Edlong helps create free-from products that will leave food manufacturers and product developers free from worry, and customers satisfied.