Yeast extract is a perfect fit for the dairy alternatives market

Yeast extract is a perfect fit for the dairy alternatives market

There are many reasons to follow an exclusion diet. Food scandals, animal abuse, allergy, the desire to look after our health… so many rationales to turn to plant alternatives. The animal kingdom gives way to the vegetal, and there are many conditions to develop good analogues, especially to dairy products. Dairy analogues dominate the analogues market: 17.3 billion USD in 2018 versus 13.3 billion USD for the meat analogues market [1],[2]. In this field, yeast extract is a flavor asset.


Dairy analogue markets on the rise

There is wide space for plant alternatives on the dairy market. While the most recognizable remains animal milk with a selection of plant-based drinks (almond, soy, rice…), cheeses and ice creams are also making more and more headlines.

The global dairy analogues market figures reflect this trend with a projected 71% growth from 17.3 billion USD in 2018 to $29.6 billion in 20231. This includes plant alternatives for milk, but also ice cream, yoghurt, cheese, cream…


Why are consumers turning to dairy analogues?

Increase of veganism

Although vegetarianism is the most popular diet, veganism is also increasing. In 2017, 6% of the US population was vegan[3]. A number multiplied by 6 in only 6 years! The trend is similar in other parts of the world[4]: 1.5% of the UK population, 1.3% in Germany, 1.6% in Spain and 1.1% in France.

Veganism is a diet closely linked to ethic convictions. Particularly, vegans think it is cruel to breed animals to kill them or milk (74%) and that the breeding conditions are wrong (53%)3. Consumption of dairy products is also linked to environmental convictions. As an example, the environmental impact of one glass of milk differs whether it is dairy, rice, soy, oat or almond.

Sensitivity and intolerance to lactose

There is a frequent confusion between cow milk allergy, lactose intolerance, or simple lactose sensitivity. Cow milk allergy involves the immune system, while sensitivity and intolerance are simply at the digestive level. Around 2/3 of the global population is lactose intolerant, with strong disparity depending on the world regions[5]: 64% in Asia, 47% in eastern Europe, 38% in Latin America, 66% in northern Africa… Adults with cow milk allergy represent between 0.5% and 2% of the population[6]. Dairy products suffer from a bad reputation, influencing consumers to turn to dairy analogues.

Beyond main reasons

Consumers are curious: they want to explore other tastes while keeping an eye on nutritional aspects. Generally, these products are lower in calories. Health crises, particularly those affecting infant formulas, have also curbed the consumption of dairy products.


The industrial challenges of dairy substitutes

The main challenge is to maintain the product taste for consumers’ pleasure. First, it is often necessary to mask off-notes brought by plant-based proteins. Next, it is important to keep the richness and creaminess of standard formulas –  in a dairy-free ice cream, for example.

The improvement of organoleptic qualities must be achieved while respecting consumer demands for a clean label: short ingredient lists and no preservatives or artificial colors. Industrials must also provide dairy analogues with dairy equivalent nutritional properties. This includes calcium but also proteins, low sugar

The last challenge, and not the least, is regulatory. In some parts of the world (Europe, Canada, Switzerland…) manufacturers cannot talk about plant-based “milk” or plant-based “cheese“. They must use a lexical register specific to these new products: clear enough for the consumers to understand the product and not too close to dairy words.

The consequences of the development of this market are visible. To follow this trend, historically “dairy” brands are launching into plant alternatives. We will mention here Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream), St Hubert (desserts & butter), the Eurial Group (desserts)….


Why is yeast extract ideal in dairy substitutes?

 Yeast extract is an ingredient of choice for dairy substitutes; it meets many of the criteria required for this type of product:

  • Ethics: It is a 100% animal-free ingredient
  • Naturality and clean label: Yeast extract is an ingredient derived from yeast, produced by fermentation and minimally processed. It is ideal in a clean label approach.
  • Taste: It is the vocation of yeast extract. In vegetal recipes, yeast extract allows a subtle construction of taste, bringing cheesy, buttery, or umami taste with a certain roundness in the mouth: buttery and creamy notes in a vegan Mozzarella cheese, buttery flavor in a vegan butter, cheese flavor and umami taste in a Cheddar or spreadable vegan cheese…


[1] Markets and Markets, Dairy alternatives market, 2019

[2] Markets and Markets. Meat Substitutes Market. 2019

[3] Global Data, global vegan population, 2018

[4] Credoc, Combien de végétariens en Europe ?, 2018

[5] Storhaug et al, Country, regional, and global estimates for lactose malabsorption in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis, The Lancet, Gastroentorolgy & hepatology, 2017

[6] Flom et al, Epidemiology of Cow’s Milk Allergy, 2019

BIOSPRINGER is a trademark and it does not imply systematically that the product is organic according to EU Regulation 2018/ 848, the status of each product supplied should be checked on the technical documentation.