The Year of Protein Innovation
Diet trends change constantly, in large part due to new research about the way that food fuels our bodies. Researchers and health conscious blogs continue to remind consumers of the importance of protein in our daily diets. That’s not to say that the power of protein hasn’t been known for years – in fact, dieticians have always emphasized how crucial it is to get the appropriate protein-packed meats in our diets (or to find the right vegetable alternatives for those who are vegetarian or vegan). But with the big protein boom, flavorists continue to take advantage of the trend to create great new, flavorful dishes.
Chicken is one of the hottest sources of protein around, but is often regarded by consumers as a bit bland. Despite this, chicken has been showing up on restaurant menus and in grocery store freezers more and more. Flavorists who want to work with chicken to create something great, healthy, and delicious have a lot of options. After all, the fact that chicken is so bland in and of itself makes it the perfect canvas for flavor creation. Particularly hot right now is the use of chicken in Latin America cuisine, where it can nicely pick up citrus flavors such as those provided by flavor ingredients such as Advanced Biotech’s Natural Citrus Enhancer.
Many types of fish are also packed with protein, and like chicken they can provide a great canvas for flavor creation. Tropical fish dishes have always been popular, and naturally so, but many flavorists are looking for new and unique ways to produce fish dishes. One of the ways to do that is through the creation of sauces and marinades that make for the quick and easy production of healthy meals with fish – something that buyers can do themselves. For fancier fare with fish, flavor ingredients such as Advanced Biotech’s Natural Ethyl Pelargonate can provide a white wine flavor that gives it a splash of sophistication.
Flavorists have done well to not forget vegan and vegetarian consumers who believe that meat consumption is contributing to environmental, humanitarian and health problems. After decades of settling for the token vegetable lasagna, vegans and vegetarians are enjoying a vast improvement in the selection of meat-free foods in supermarkets and restaurants. However, innovation has led to an international war on who can make the bloodiest and meatiest plant-based burger. One things for sure, consumers are gravitating to those that maintain the meaty flavor of a meat based burger.
It’s important to remember with the creation of all these products, from flavor components for ready-made dishes to the creation of sauces and marinades, that buyers are seeking healthier ways to eat their favorite proteins. Natural flavor ingredients that can add to a product without boosting its sodium content, its calorie count, or the amount of fat contained therein are one of the most important tools a flavorist has in keeping up with this trend.