Lycored natural-colors deliver consumer-ready plant-based products’ for industry success

Tammi Higgings, Global Business Unit Head Coloration and Real Food Ingredients at Lycored  will be presenting the talk “Bringing your “A” Game to Creating Enticing Plant-based Meat Alternatives” at Track II: New Formulations & Ingredients during the  Virtual 16th Plant-Based Foods & Proteins Summit Europe 2020 (13-14 October). Tammi will discuss ways in which color can create an opportunity for competitive advantage in plant based meat formats.

What can you tell us about the content of your presentation?

 Lycored is a global leader in lycopene-based color and taste-enhancing ingredients for food and beverages and we have recently completed a number of detailed color stability studies focused on plant-based meat alternatives. The presentation content will focus on sharing many of the key learnings that will help producers optimize the visual impact of their product, the shelf-life and consumer experience of the product.

Since global consumption of plant-based foods is growing, especially meat-free alternatives, what are the main challenges for food designers?

Some key challenge areas for food designers is creating appeal for the consumer base who are simply reducing meat intake. This includes taste, texture and nutrition for palatability.  Color and visual attractiveness are key as well given they help to drive purchase intent and repeat purchase.

Lycored recently conducted two stability studies, what were the main results/findings?

The studies found that the range of super-stable colors from yellow to pink to red can withstand the rigors of processing and deliver authentic meat-like coloration with long lasting stability in plant-based meat alternatives.

Focusing on plant-based deli ham slices and sausage-style encased meats, Lycored’s scientists put their portfolio of all-natural, lycopene-based colors to the test by comparing them to two industry standard color alternatives: beet and iron oxide.

Highlights of Lycored’s studies revealed:

  • For both cold cuts such as ham or poultry slices and sausages, Lycored’s red shades from lycopene outperformed beet and iron oxide relative to process stability and authentic, appetizing hues.
  • Real time and accelerated shelf life tests proved color stability of ham slices to meet standard shelf life and even go beyond.
  • Lycopene-based colors used in sausages provided a range of colors with authentic appearance before and after cooking.
  • Lycored’s colors are freeze thaw stable and can withstand harsh temperatures and processing conditions.
  • Lycored’s colors did not fade or brown, despite all the rigours of the testing conditions and even after the typical two months shelf life. This means manufacturers can showcase their products to consumers using product windows and cut down on the use of packaging sleeves.

Global consumption of plant-based foods is growing, especially meat-free alternatives designed to look and taste like foods in segments like deli ham and sausages. As part of these new dietary trends, people are increasingly searching for alternatives to meat in their traditional diets and this includes a growing number of so-called meat reducers or ‘flexitarian’ consumers.

To appeal to the masses, plant-based meats must be clean label yet look, feel and taste just like the real thing, before and after cooking. This is challenging food engineers to find color ingredients that can handle the processing conditions for plant-based proteins substitutes.

Lycored’s lycopene-based colors are a natural first choice for many of today’s most popular meat substitutes,” notes Higgins, concluding: “Plant-based meat alternatives are vying for the top of the vegetarian product food chain but they can’t get there unless ingredients are clean, able to withstand intensive processing and assure color stays true through the shelf life. Lycored’s broad range of hues provide a far-reaching palette that makes it easy for food manufacturers to find the intensity and color they need to meet tough stability criteria.

To find out more about Lycored`s capability in plant based meat visit:

About the Speaker

Tammi Higgins received her B.S. in Food Science as well as her M.B.A, focused on integrative management and marketing, from Michigan State University.  Tammi started her 20 year career in the food and beverage industry in quality and applied product development, spanning five years of experience at Favorite Brands International, Topco and Kalsec.  After earning her M.B.A, Tammi shifted into strategic marketing at Kalsec, driving the rebranding and positioning of the company while developing the market research and communication functions and then moved on to manage color marketing for FMC.  Tammi is currently Global Business Unit Head for Colorants and Real Food Ingredients at Lycored, leading the long and short term business strategy, driving global business development efforts as well as  managing the global applications team.


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