Beneo expands rice-based ingredients range marking World Chocolate Day

Ahead of World Chocolate day on 7 July, ingredients business Beneo has extended its range of rice-based products and recipes for manufacturers, enabling them to deliver a broader array of plant-based confectionery, writes Neill Barston.

According to the company’s research, a total of 44% of Europeans claim to be very interested in food items and nutrition within the ‘better for you’ nutritionally enriched product market segment, which has seen a significant rise in vegan series being developed globally.

As the business acknowledged, while the market for vegan sweets and plant-based chocolates is growing, taste and texture remain king, which the firm believes it is well placed to respond to with its range of key industry ingredients.

Consequently, its technology centre is offering the sector a helping hand with its latest rice-based products, including its Nutriz range, that 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 has been developed  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.

As Beneo noted, plants and indulgence can go hand in hand, with its recent global research showing 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 (very) 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 (very) appealing for plant-based bakery and sweets alternatives.

Rudy Wouters, Head of the BENEO-Technology Centre, said: “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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