Interviews

Loryma: “There is a Move Towards Stand-Alone Plant-Based Products That Offer More Than Mere Meat Replacement”

Christopher Busch is Head of Research & Development, Extruded Products at Loryma, part of the Crespel & Deiters Group. As an extrusion specialist, he has been working for the Crespel & Deiters Group for several years and, together with his team, helps develop innovative solutions using extruded ingredients. The complexity of extrusion and the almost infinite possibilities offered by the process are what most excite him.

At the end of a busy year during which Loryma has developed wheat-based tuna, wheat-based egg replacer for baked goods, as well as a heat-stable salami substitute that leverages fermentation to recreate an authentic visual and sensory replication (pictured below), we spoke with Christopher to hear his reflections on 2023 and thoughts for the new year ahead.

Can you provide an overview of Loryma’s core products and how they contribute to the quality of plant-based products?
We develop functional wheat-based ingredients that allow for the creation of holistic solutions that meet the needs of different target groups. We also try to inspire with trend-oriented application concepts, as plant-based products are not only about meat substitutes. So, while we offer a broad variety of solutions for meat replacers, we also have ingredients ideally suited to bakery, sports nutrition, breading, confectionery, and convenience foods.

© Crespel & Deiters Group

For example, the combination of our wheat-based texturates from the Lory® Tex portfolio together with our Lory® Bind binders can provide the characteristic meat- or fish-like texture with optimal binding such as a clean label salami substitute with heat-stable properties thanks to the right binder. We also have extensive experience in coating, whether for meat and fish alternatives, potato, or other vegetable products. From declaration-friendly wheat starches for batters or tempura to eye-catching extruded crumbs for breadings, we offer manufacturers solutions for whole coating systems.

“Visitors couldn’t believe that these muffins were completely free of eggs”

One of our latest innovations is our egg and milk substitute for vegan bakery products. Wheat-based Lory® Stab perfectly mimics the technological properties of egg or milk in baked goods, ensuring an authentic result. As a basic premix, the system enables easy and flexible recipe design for a wide range of applications such as muffins, biscuits, and cake bases. In addition to their functional benefits, our ingredients also enhance the nutritional profile. For instance, our hydrolysed wheat protein Lory® Protein boosts the protein content, while our resistant wheat starch Lory® Starch Elara increases the fibre level of snacks such as crunchy, protein-rich cookies. Our extruded wheat-based Lory® IsoCrisp can also be used to provide plant protein along with a satisfying crunch.

How was the response to FiE for Loryma? Could you elaborate on the plant-based innovations you were showcasing at the trade fair?
FiE was a great experience for us, with stunning conversations about the future of plant-based applications. The mini plant-based salami sticks proved particularly popular, as it’s a rare format on the market. Our application concept is fermented and free from additives.

Loryma plant-based salami
© Crespel & Deiters Group

The combination of our binder Lory® Bind and the texturates Lory® Tex Strips deliver the characteristic texture of salami, while a mixture of wheat starch and protein provides the typical visible fat inclusions. The protein content is in line with the original, which made it a delicious, protein-rich snack for our visitors at FiE. Our vegan mini muffins with our new Lory® Stab also went down well. Visitors couldn’t believe that these muffins were completely free of eggs, mainly because of their excellent technological properties such as an even pore structure, airy texture and light crumb.

In what ways does Loryma support its customers in customizing and optimizing plant-based formulations for taste, texture, and nutritional profile? Could you share some recent examples of successful collaborations with food production companies?
Our aim is to enable manufacturers, through the use of our specialised ingredients, to make their end product vision a reality. Therefore, we work closely with our customers during the development process. This can involve adjustments to the recipe, for example, if a clean label or increased protein content is desired, and the creation of anticipated texture.

“Our aim is to enable manufacturers […] to make their end product vision a reality”

One practical example is our cooperation with the Austrian brand “die OHNE“. The texture of the nuggets had to be adjusted, as the fibres couldn’t support the perfect bite optimally. As a result, the nuggets were partly inhomogeneous in appearance and mouthfeel. It became apparent that, in addition to quality and composition, the base material of fibres plays an important role in sensory perception. Extruded wheat gluten forms fibres that closely resemble the texture of meat and have higher elasticity than fibres made from pea or soy protein. Our Lory® Tex Fibres, which are neutral in smell, taste, and colour, enhanced the bite and mouthfeel of the nuggets, allowing the manufacturer to be creative with seasonings.

In your view, what are the most important achievements of the plant-based ingredients industry in recent years and what challenges are we facing in the near future?
The most important achievement is the diversity of the plant-based meat alternatives sector. A couple of years ago, the only alternative products were chicken and burger patties. Nowadays, however, there is far more variety, from steaks over cold cuts to fish substitutes.

Loryma salmon fillet
©Crespel & Deiters Group

That’s because many people are looking to reduce their meat consumption, as documented in the latest nutrition report from the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). Of those surveyed, 46 percent said they consider themselves flexitarian – in other words, they try to eat little or no meat – and 53 percent said they have bought at least one plant-based product.

Using our comprehensive extrusion know-how, we’ve developed a wide range of textured wheat proteins called Lory® Tex. These allow manufacturers to produce a full range of authentic meat alternatives that promise consumers an improved variety of offerings. As the plant-based ingredients industry grows, there will be more competition from new technologies. But with our own extrusion plant, we already have excellent equipment and processes in place for the production of ingredients that authentically replicate meat-based products.

Can you share insights on how you see the plant-based food industry developing, and how Loryma is adapting to meet these demands?
The demand for plant-based foods is on the up and, as a result, consumers are looking for a broader range of products. In the last two years, we have seen huge growth in the market for plant-based fish alternatives. That’s why we’ve developed several ingredients for manufacturers to create vegan tuna, including the classic canned version.

loryma tuna
©Crespel Deiters Group

The combination of our wheat-based products can be prepared in the same way as the original to deliver authentic, fibrous sensory qualities and a delicate texture, thus promising an identical mouthfeel. Additionally, research by Innova Market Insights shows that categories such as chocolate and bakery are growing in popularity.

As a result, we are offering more plant-based bakery solutions, replacing animal ingredients with wheat-based offerings. We can also partially swap out less nutritious ingredients such as conventional flour with our resistant wheat starch. This results in bakery products such as muffins or toast with increased fibre and reduced carbohydrate content, meaning fewer calories overall. This allows manufacturers to appeal to people who want to reduce their consumption of animal products, as well as health-conscious consumers and athletes.

Approaching the end of what has been a turbulent year for some in the plant-based business, what is your message for the industry as we look ahead to 2024?
According to Innova Market Insights’ Top Trend Report 2024, plant-based is still a hot topic in the industry. However, with the meat and dairy alternatives sector fairly satisfied, there is a move towards stand-alone, plant-based products that offer more than mere meat replacement. The properties of wheat-based ingredients or innovative technologies such as extrusion or fermentation allow for the development of countless new finished products.

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