Successful Innovations Start with Collaboration

In 2021, Edlong, along with several other international companies and organizations, joined the “Reducing Flavour and Texture Issues with Legume-based Foods and Ingredients” consortium.

This consortium aims to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges associated with plant-based ingredients and their effects on taste and texture across a range of food and beverage applications.

The Flavor and Texture consortium partners are Biospringer by LesaffreDanoneBrabenderBungeEdlong FlavorsEbro IngredientsRuitenberg IngredientsHAS Green Academy and NIZO. NIZO coordinates this consortium, which is supported by the Dutch government’s Topsector Agri & Food initiative (TKI).

Edlong’s goal in participating in this consortium is to leverage the collective knowledge of its members to help support the continued growth of plant-based products in the market. By translating the vast amounts of data into tailored flavor solutions, our customers will be better able to overcome their plant-based taste challenges and create delicious products that deliver on consumers’ needs and expectations.

Legume-based foods

As a flavor company, we understand that we are often only one small piece of the larger puzzle. Participating in this consortium allows us to actively collaborate with leading industry and research experts to unlock the true potential of everything plant-based can be.

“For me personally, playing an active role in this group has been a great way to collaborate, innovate and build relationships. At Edlong, we pride ourselves on knowing as much about ingredients and applications as we do about flavours, and this has been a great way to learn and ideate with amazing partners. Bringing the learnings back to Edlong and working with our VP of R&D, Dr. Bernd Koehler and his team to create and innovate new solutions has been such an exciting part of this journey, and we are looking forward to sharing the fruits of this labour with our customers.” says Anne Marie Butler, Edlong’s Global Director of Strategy and Innovation.

While improving taste and texture remain the top issues for consumers[1] of plant-based products, enhancing nutritional value is also becoming a priority for many. Approximately 1 in 3 consumers of both plant-based dairy and meat alternatives believed that improving nutrition was of significant concern[2]. However, many plant-based ingredients used for fortifying these products, particularly proteins, can create unwanted off-tastes and texture challenges.

Dairy plant-based foods

Moreover, with 83% of consumers saying they are interested in increasing protein in their diet[3], Edlong sees overcoming these potential issues as crucial for the success of our customers and the market as a whole. 

Dr. Bernd Koehler, Edlong VP of R&D, believes that the resources of this consortium have been invaluable in achieving that aim, “Through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project led by NIZO, we found that certain flavour compounds inherent to dairy and dairy-type flavors can mask the astringency and bitterness of food and beverages containing pea and fava bean proteins. This collaborative research is critically important to solving tough technical challenges and common problems that no single partner would be able to solve alone. For Edlong, these mutual partnerships provide access to state-of-the-art capabilities. They also help to accelerate our innovations in flavor technologies.”

Echoing that praise, Julie DrainvilleEdlong Sensory Manager, says, “Our collaboration with NIZO and partnering companies has helped to expand our knowledge of plant-based proteins, to understand them from a chemical standpoint and how processing has an impact. We use this information to develop even better masking flavours to reduce off notes and enhance the overall eating quality of the foods these proteins will be used in. Edlong hopes that working together with NIZO and through similar partnerships, we can be a part of driving the food supply to a more sustainable and nutritious future.”

Already, we have been able to translate the knowledge and learnings we’ve attained into a new range of masking solutions. Launched at IFT, these maskers are able to address challenges in both the plant-based and dairy spaces. While there are no one-size-fits-all approaches to delivering great-tasting products, these new solutions, along with expert advice from our skilled application scientists, can provide developers with the perfect starting point for their projects.

veggie burger

Talk to us today about your challenges and how we can help you create unique and incredible-tasting products your consumers will love.

About the Author: Anne Marie Butler, Edlong Global Director of Strategy and Innovation

I help food stakeholders from startups to CPGs solve complex flavor problems and accelerate innovation within the food space. Through my 15+ years of experience, I’ve gained skills as a food technologist, thought partner, and leader. My clients and team appreciate my collaborative, humanistic approach to problem solving. In an increasingly tech-centric world, I think that human connection is the source of innovation. Through my work, I’ve realized how important it is to be more proactive about inviting stakeholders into conversations around flavor innovation. I’m not working alone, and I don’t want to be thinking alone either.

[1] Innova Trends Survey 2023

[2] Innova Meat, Dairy Alternative Proteins Survey 2022

[3] Innova Health & Nutrition Survey 2022

Topics: InnovationMasking & mouthfeelVegan
Resource Type: Article
Resource Region: EUUS


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