With World Chocolate Day approaching on July 7, this tasty treat is once again in the media spotlight. With 44% of Europeans saying they are interested in plant-based nutrition and consumers being more adventurous with their diets, vegan sweets and plant-based chocolates are attracting a growing audience. However, taste and texture are still king. With this in mind, the BENEO-Technology Center is giving manufacturers a helping hand by developing a range of plant-based chocolate recipes that contain their specialty rice ingredients.
Plants and indulgence can go hand in hand, however delivering on taste and texture are key for manufacturers to achieve returning customers. When it comes to plant-based chocolate, BENEO’s recent global consumer research highlights that more than a third of flexitarian consumers in Europe would like to see more dairy-free chocolate in supermarkets (38%). Three-quarters of them also say that it is important that dairy-free chocolate has a similar smooth mouthfeel as products containing dairy (76%).
For manufacturers looking to create plant-based chocolate that appeals to consumers, rice has been proving particularly popular. In terms of the consumer perception of rice as an ingredient, BENEO’s research shows that 73% of European flexitarians consider it appealing for plant-based bakery and sweets alternatives.
Enabling manufacturers to serve this demand, BENEO has extended its portfolio of specialty rice ingredients. The company’s Nutriz range consists of blends of dried rice syrup, rice flour and rice starch that can be labelled as rice powder in Europe. With a light colour and neutral taste, this milk powder replacement is ideal for use in dairy-free chocolate. It enables the development of plant-based cocoa bars providing a nice taste, good snap, smooth mouthfeel and a good melting behaviour.
Rudy Wouters, Head of the BENEO-Technology Center, comments: “World Chocolate Day is yet another reason for us all to celebrate the amazing chocolates that are available around the world. For those who are looking for alternatives, we have been working hard to develop a range of plant-based chocolate recipes that show off the potential of rice as a replacement for dairy. As well as creating stable and creamy textures, this clean label ingredient also delivers a soft, smooth mouthfeel. We’ve already had some excellent customer feedback on the new concepts which is opening the door for even more potential for plant-based chocolate product development to meet the needs of today’s consumers.”
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