After launching the VEGA Culture Kit for dairy alternatives in 2021, Chr Hansen is stepping into the meat alternatives arena with the VEGA SAFEPRO range – a new offering designed to keep plant-based alternative proteins safe and fresh for longer. The VEGA SAFEPRO range consists of three cultures that can be applied alone or in combination to undergo fermentation, which helps stem the growth of yeast, mold and contaminants such as listeria.
Consumer demand for healthy and sustainable foods is spurring growth in plant-based categories
“We are delighted to offer a solution that will help meet global demand for foods supporting the increasingly popular flexitarian lifestyle,” says Zdenek Cech, business development manager for Plant Based Meat Alternatives at Chr Hansen. “Flexitarians place a large emphasis on the consumption of plant-based foods, while incorporating meat and other animal products in moderation. A full 42% of global consumers reported avoiding certain animal-based products in 2021*, and VEGA SAFEPRO cultures will make it even easier for them to find options that satisfy their cravings without asking them to compromise on their values.”
While plant-based meat alternatives are in greater demand than ever, flexitarian consumers have high standards, expecting great taste, healthy ingredients and minimal processing, all without the additives they prefer to avoid in their foods. Producers hoping to succeed in this space must tailor their recipes accordingly, balancing the need for shelf-life stability with the demand for simple ingredients whose names consumers recognize.
“Plant-based meat alternatives tend to have high levels of sodium, due to the addition of buffered vinegars or different salts used for food preservation, such as sodium acetate or sodium lactate,” Cech continues. “With our new cultures, producers may be able to reduce the sodium content in their products, relying on the power of fermentation to support shelf stability so foods remain safe and fresh, naturally.”
Leverage the power of good bacteria to maximize safety and freshness
Fermentation has helped to feed communities and protect food stores for thousands of years. By employing this ancient process to plant-based meat alternatives, the VEGA SAFEPRO range offers producers the following benefits:
Helps to control the growth of unwanted lactic acid bacteria strains, pathogens, yeast and molds
Meets consumer demand for products with natural ingredients, potentially reducing overall sodium content in plant-based meat alternatives
Contributes to a clean and fresh taste throughout shelf life
Enhances the sustainability profile of food brands by reducing food waste
“We hope that with VEGA SAFEPRO, our customers come to see us as a close partner as they innovate new offerings for plant-based meat alternatives,” says Cech, “meeting the challenge of creating delicious products that are safe from the start and stay safe for a longer time.”
The new range is the culmination of years of research and testing, featuring strains that have proven their ability to help stem the growth of contaminants and crowd out yeasts, molds and pathogens in plant-based chicken strips, or in cooked, ready-to-eat products.
“As we look ahead, we believe the plant-based trend is here to stay and will only continue to grow,” Cech says. “With VEGA SAFEPRO and the wider VEGA™ portfolio, we are honored to support our customers in creating the best possible plant-based alternatives for meat and dairy, helping them offer the tastiest, healthiest options to consumers around the world.”
VEGA and SAFEPRO are trademarks of Chr. Hansen A/S
* Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey