USA – DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences report reveals that the ‘health’ aspect in plant-based dairy alternatives presents a strong potential for brands seeking to meet consumer demand for nutritious products.

In addition to health benefits, the plant-based sector is driven by efforts to meet expectations for taste, texture and overall eating enjoyment.

A study by MotiveQuest has shown that taste and flavor are consistently consumers’ most important criteria in non-dairy substitutes.

Other common denominators while choosing the best product among consumers include protein content, texture, sugar level and calories.

“Consumers are often disappointed in the labels on dairy alternative products because their expectations aren’t met,” said Greg Paul, Ph.D., MBA, Marketing Leader, DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences.

“The labels are not jibing with what consumers expect with dairy-free products – which is natural and simple with high protein, low sugar and clean labels.

“There is significant opportunity in the market for brands to deliver dairy-free products with better nutritional profiles and cleaner labels.”

As the plant-based dairy alternative segment expands, consumers are looking at ways to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets.

According to Nielsen data, sales of plant-based dairy products, excluding milk, reached US$697 million, for 52 weeks ending June 2018, an increase of 50% year over year.

All the non-dairy product categories including ice cream and frozen desserts, yogurt, cheese, creamer, butter and dressing experienced double-digit growth greater than 20% during the period.

“The top driver for consumers of plant-based dairy products is health,” said Greg Paul.

“Consumers believe plant-based is healthier for them, yet what they consider healthy varies widely and is often personal.

“Healthy may be defined simply as dairy avoidance because of an allergy or intolerance or it may mean sustainable, lower in fat or better for one’s overall well-being.”

This expansion provides an opportunity for brands looking to grow in this category explore innovative platforms to deliver on consumer healthfulness expectations while not compromising on taste and texture.

DuPont Nutrition & Biosciences is a leader in plant-based product development with an expansive portfolio including protein ingredients, complementary systems for texture/stabilization, cultures, probiotics and food protection solutions.

To meet demand for premium plant-based products like sausages, burger patties and cold cuts, DuPont recently launched a new egg white replacement system for plant-based meat alternatives.

In May, it unveiled a new range of cultures specially designed for fermented plant-based products.