Kim Robinson Written by Kim Robinson


Every year we see new food and drink trends appearing in the industry. 2018 is tipped to be the year of multisensory food and drink as consumers want textured food which appeals to their sensors, and now we’re approaching the middle of the year a new trend is becoming more apparent; a plant-based food trend is taking the food and drink industry by storm.

Plant-based diets are often shown to be good for health and already supermarkets are, and have been stocking some plant-based food and drinks for years, such as Quorn, Alpro and Cauldron products to name but a few, but now other major companies are eager to jump on the plant-based band wagon.

The worlds largest food and drink company Nestle, now wants in on the action with its launch, last month, of their Garden Gourmet range. Consisting of 12 different products including meat-free burgers, mince and beetroot falafels. UK Food Division MD Paula Jordan says, “We find that people want to enjoy a healthier diet and try to eat less meat, but they are sometimes disappointed with the taste. (The Garden Gourmet brand will) “revoluntionise the vegetarian category.”

But why the big craze? Research shows that a plant-based diet brings numerous health and well-being benefits, as it’s packed with nutrients, plus it’s also good for the environment.

The Plant Based Food Association reveal that by producing plant-based meat alternatives is better for the environment; they generate 10 x fewer greenhouse gas emissions than when beef-based products are produced. Plus Professor Peter Scarborough, University Research Lecturer and Environmental Sustainability Programme Leader, conducted a study, which revealed that plant-based eaters contribute almost half as much dietary greenhouse gases as meat-eaters, once again helping the environment.

According to Mintel research agency, 36% of consumers have or do buy plant-based meats on a regular basis and a survey conducted by 210 Analytics reveals that 60% of millennials prefer to consume plant-based meats. Likewise, according to Nielsen, cow’s milk sales declined by 5% in 2017, while the plant-based milk category has grown 3.1%; since 2013 almond milk sales have grown by over 250%.

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Yes, it’s proven that these plant-based diets are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and nutrients that help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of illnesses such as diabetes. Plus it can help maintain a healthy weight, which is turn could lower the risk of heart disease. Yet, it is also important that other foods and drinks containing additional sources are consumed with a plant-based diet to maintain a healthy body and digestive system. The major risks associated with a plant-based diet include inadequate protein intake, and mineral and vitamin deficiencies.

Interestingly sugar beet fibre (Fibrex) is used in many of these plant-based fibres; Fibrex is a dietary fibre product derived from sugar beet. Sugar beets consist of about 75% water, 18% sugar and approximately 5% cell walls. After the sugar is extracted, the remaining cell wall material, which is the sugar beet pulp, is then used to produce the sugar beet fibre/Fibrex.

Plus many of these meat-free alternative meals contain pure sugars, molasses and glucose syrups as part of their ingredients for taste, texture and appearance, all of which are products that can be supplied by Ragus. We are specialists in high quality natural pure sugars, from raw cane sugar to specialist glucose-sugar blends. For more information or if you need pure sugars as ingredients then contact