Many examples from the national and international markets show the economic potential of plant-based alternatives. But as a rule, successful products are based on intensive, expensive and time-consuming research and development.
With the new PlantbaserTM, Planteneers has created an alternative. Dr. Dorotea Pein, Director Product Management at Planteneers, explains what the tool can do and for whom it is intended.
If you want to learn more about the Plantbaser, or experience a product configuration live, don’t miss the “Plantbaser: New product development in 15 minutes” webinar.
You launched the PlantbaserTM on the market a little over a month ago. How is it doing?
We’re seeing extremely good market acceptance for the configurator. We’ve already had over 2000 visitors to the website. And we’re glad to see that companies are using it to configure their desired products.
Where do you go from here?
This year we’re going to add further product categories, and will continue with that next year. Our goal is to cover our entire portfolio in the PlantbaserTM in 2022. That will mean that manufacturers in all relevant areas of the food industry can use the instrument to develop plant-based products.
Which product groups are already in it, and which will be soon?
Currently, customers can use it to create their own plant-based alternatives to cheese and yogurt, burger patties, cold cuts and mayonnaise. This year we’re going to add sausages to the meat alternative line-up. In dairy, we’ll be adding various cheese alternatives, like feta for example. We’ll also be expanding the deli selection.
What target groups are you addressing with the configurator?
In principle, the PlantbaserTM is suitable for any company, especially medium-size firms that as yet have little expertise in plant-based foods, or have no own plant-based R&D department.
What tangible benefits does the tool give users?
Digital product development saves customers a great deal of time. With the PlantbaserTM the many coordination processes can be reduced to the minimum necessary, and companies can get their new products ready for market much more quickly and efficiently. With the configurator they can give their ideas tangible form. This simplifies the process of developing innovations.
And how does the configuration process work in actual use?
Customers select the desired ingredients from a list. They define certain parameters like machines used, product base and exclusion of allergens. Properties like fat and protein content, colour, texture and mouthfeel can also be defined individually, and samples viewed immediately. We made videos of countless products so that customers can see right on the screen what the final product will look like if they reduce the fat content, or increase the protein content, for example. The changes in appearance and texture are immediately visible. So much so that the customer already gets an idea of how the product will taste. About two weeks later they get product samples they can taste-test.
How long does configuration take?
Within 15 to 20 minutes the user can configure the desired product and order a sample.
What factors did you pay particular attention to when developing the PlantbaserTM?
The content quality was a key requirement. In our view, the quality of the Plantbaser needs to be outstanding. It has to show customers visually how the product tastes and what the mouthfeel is. We try to convey this with videos and photos. So we made, filmed and photographed every single formulation. At one point we found ourselves surrounded by over 200 different burger patty versions.
Which criteria do you use to define the appearance of the different versions?
For each of the product categories, we determine the properties that are important to customers. We then measure and scale these properties, and show them in pictures. That takes a lot of development work, which is why we didn’t go to market with the finished configurator, but are instead expanding it successively. But the effort is necessary because customers can only make choices based on this high quality.
How do you know which criteria are important to customers?
Our colleagues in Research and Development provide us with these insights. Based on their decades of experience in direct dialogue with customers around the world, they know what companies are looking for in product development.
Can you already say what product areas are favourites with customers?
The highest demand is for solutions for meat alternatives, followed by milk alternatives and deli foods.
What are your goals with the PlantbaserTM?
Digitalisation is making enormous progress in B2B. Digital customer contact has already become commonplace. So for us, it was logical to develop a digital instrument that enormously simplifies product development for our customers. At the same time, it makes the dialogue with the customer easier. If they already have a first sample, we have a common basis to work from. The customer then has only to tell us what criteria they want to modify. Once that’s done, the sample is ready to order for large-scale production.
Don’t miss it: Webinar on the Plantbaser
Digital product development on Vegconomist
If you want to learn more about the Plantbaser, or experience a product configuration live, don’t miss the “Plantbaser: New product development in 15 minutes” webinar. Together with Vegconomist, Planteneers will present the configurator in detail on Tuesday 25 January 2022 at 16:00. Dr. Dorotea Pein and Florian Bark will show how simple it is to use, and explain the advantages for companies. Participants can ask questions directly in the chat. Sign up now
Are you otherwise engaged at that time? No problem. The webinar will be accessible afterwards from Vegconomist in an on-demand format.