24.11.2022 • Products and Services
Vegan nutrition no longer means going without. You can use numerous plant-based alternatives for meat and dairy products if you want to consume less or no animal foods. But which raw materials are best suited for vegan products? What advantages do they have? And what does the future hold?
With Creme VEGA, Dr. Oetker introduced a soy-based vegan alternative to the classic crème fraîche back in 2017. The company's vegan product range now includes numerous products that guarantee the usual delicious moments of enjoyment. Various raw materials form the base for delicious alternatives to dairy and meat products. Insa Parkan, Marvin Finke and Luis Aelker, as well as the cake product development team at Dr. Oetker, provide exciting insights into the various possibilities.
"In 2021, we first considered peas as an option for vegan products," reports Luis Aelker, Senior Quality Assurance Manager Pizza. "When processed, they have a very similar consistency and fiber structure to meat products." In order to be used as a base for vegan products, the green pulses are ground. The protein from ground peas is used to make plant-based meat alternatives.
The range of vegan cheese alternatives continues to evolve, and there are many different options, for example, made from almonds, cashews, and even potatoes. "When we developed our first vegan Ristorante Pizza, we tried thirty different variants," reports product developer Insa Parkan.
Many vegan cheese alternatives feel sticky in the mouth and lack the typical taste of real cheese. In the end, therefore, it also depends on the overall recipe.
Soy products have been around for a long time, for example, in Asian cuisine. As a basis for vegan products, soybeans are practically a classic. "Soy is the raw material we used to develop the first vegan product at Dr. Oetker," recalls Marvin Finke, Dessert Product Developer. "For our plant-based alternative to crème fraîche, the yellow beans are soaked, mashed, and cooked to remove digestive toxins." This is also how soy drink is produced, which many consumers like to use in mueslis, for example. "With vegetable oil, we obtain a cream-like liquid," explains Marvin Finke. Because of its creamy consistency, it is well suited as a base for vegetable crème fraîche. The end product is heat-resistant, safe to use, and promises the same binding as Dr. Oetker's classic crème fraîche.
Dr. Oetker VEGA cream and VEGA cream with garden herbs are used in the same way as the well-known crème fraîche. The products are made with a soy base and refine all kinds of sweet or savory dishes.
Ground, chopped, sliced: it's hard to imagine baking without almonds. As a base for vegan products, they have enriched the Dr. Oetker range since 2021. "With their sweet, slightly nutty taste, almonds are a great base for vegan desserts," explains Marvin Finke. To be able to use almonds as a raw material for plant-based products, they are processed into a light-colored paste. In combination with brown cane sugar and typical flavoring ingredients such as real Bourbon vanilla or vegan chocolate, vegan desserts are created, which are grouped together at Dr. Oetker in the LoVE it! product family. With the help of almond paste as a base, the vegan products taste just as creamy and delicious as you would expect from Dr. Oetker desserts.
Due to their neutral taste, oats are very suitable as a base for vegan foods. Moreover, oat plants are cultivated in Europe. "In addition to our VEGA cream, we wanted to offer consumers other options for the vegan refinement of hearty dishes," he explains. "In our search for suitable raw materials, we came across oatmeal. It is regionally available, can be easily processed, and is very pleasant in taste." Mixed with rapeseed oil, water, and a few other ingredients, the result is a cream-like custard that consumers can use for savory dishes.
With Cuisine VEGA, Dr. Oetker is adding another innovative product to its range. The
vegetable cooking cream based on oat and rapeseed oil refines sauces, stir-fries and casseroles and provides versatile uses that increase appetite for a plant-based diet.
Eggs playmany important roles in the success of classic baking recipes: It binds the ingredients and ensures that the pastry does not collapse. It also guarantees a pleasant color and taste. When developing vegan recipes for baking mixes, a good instinct is needed. Especially with regard to the Dr. Oetker LoVE it! baking mix for vegan muffins, the cake product development team made sure that these retain their fluffy, juicy texture and taste despite the plant-based ingredients. Flaxseed and chia seeds could only partially replace the egg but had no advantages for the taste and fluffiness of the pastry. On the other hand, Apple pulp adds a pleasant sweetness and a fruity note. For the vegan brownie baking mix recipe,
the team uses pea protein. This protein partially replaces the function of eggs, so that only water and oil need to be added to the recipe.
The list of potential further ingredients that could enrich Dr. Oetker's vegan product range is long. "In product development and sensory science, we regularly look at new ways to offer flexitarians, vegetarians, and vegans the best and most authentic moments of enjoyment," says Insa Parkan. "For example, we are also developing delicious pizza products that use lots of vegetables and no plant-based substitutes," adds Luis Aelker. The future will be versatile - and certainly vegan!