In search of stability
Stability is an important area for manufacturers to focus on. Due to the types of fat (with low saturation to deliver on nutritional claims) used in such drinks, the emulsion is, by nature, very sensitive, with sedimentation, flocculation, and fat separation as constant issues. One only has to think about what it’s like to open a can of coconut milk, for example, to realize that the ingredient’s rapid change from liquid to solid curd is likely to show up as creaming on the surface of a non-dairy alternative drink.
Last year, Palsgaard commissioned extensive consumer research* into the plant-based market, which included questions about dairy alternative beverages. The research highlighted certain areas where consumers would like to see improvements. For example, they would like to find products with less sedimentation, a longer shelf-life and enhanced texture and creaminess.
With regards to sedimentation, the survey asked consumers whether they had ever seen visible particles in their plant-based beverages and the results were quite striking. A high proportion (70%) said they had noticed this. It also asked consumers how they thought plant-based beverages could be improved and 34% chose “avoiding sedimentation” as one of their top three choices.