Mayo 2.0: Health trend embraced as vegan NPD accelerates

October 6, 2017, 8:30 am
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In Europe, the mayonnaise market is seeing Heinz challenge Unilever’s market-leading Hellmann’s brand in the UK with the 2016 launch of Heinz (Seriously) Good Mayonnaise, which replaced the previous Heinz mayo. It is packaged in an urn-shaped jar with a premium positioning and saw strong promotional activity following its introduction. Within six months, it was in the top 10 UK table sauce brands, having gained sales of nearly £6m (US$8m), although it remained well behind Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise in second place with £63m (US$84.2m) and Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise in third place with £31m (US$41.4m).

General global food trends are geared toward health and wellness, the use of high-quality ingredients and naturalness to name a few. It’s no different for mayonnaise. Consumers are increasingly adopting vegan diets, not only for animal welfare issues but also for health or environmental reasons. Similar to the vegetarian trend, some consumers choose to become purely vegan, a flexible vegan or just exchange certain products for the healthier versions. This is giving food manufacturers plenty of good opportunities for new product launches, particularly in the mayonnaise category, where the reduction of egg as an ingredient and on-pack vegan claim, is becoming increasingly common.

Products using vegan claims accounted for just 7 percent of US launches of mayonnaise, dressings and vinegar in 2016 and the majority of these were still liquid or pourable dressings. Spoonable options are starting to appear, however, led by Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo egg-free mayonnaise, first introduced in California in 2013. During 2016, however, we not only saw the arrival of Fabanaise but also a vegan option from Unilever under the Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread name, as well as brands such as Follow Your Heart’s Vegenaise and Dr Fuhrman’s Nuttynaise.

Navigating the mayonnaise maze can be tricky for food developers and last month, Tetra Pak came up with its latest white paper to highlight the challenges and guide manufacturers on how to get high-quality and vegan products to the market as quickly as possible.

Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, food processing specialist at Tetra Pak, Hans Henrik Mortensen explained the development of producing egg-free mayonnaise. “We don’t develop products (recipes), but we offer the technology and process that will, for sure, handle various product requirements and needs. The egg-free options are not unique but can be handled by our mixer and methods,” says Mortensen.

Mortensen lists the current trends as follows: “Health and wellness with reduced fat, salt and sugar content. Naturality, as consumers are concerned about what is in their foods, how are they made and where the ingredients come from.”

“Highlighting certain ingredients that are premium or has high-quality ingredients,” he continues. “Free-from is important because consumer avoids certain foods due to allergy, sensitiveness or because of a lifestyle choice. Convenience is also important, so this is time-saving products, easy to prepare and consume.”

The consumer demands for low-calorie products with the same taste and feel as calorie-rich versions are well-known, he adds, but this is where navigating the complexities of mayonnaise production is very important.

“Lowering the amount of oil in an otherwise standard mayonnaise will lead to a less dense packing of the dispersed oil droplets and thereby to reduced viscosity and texture,” he states.

“Various thickening and gelling compounds can, therefore, be added to the water phase to match the viscosity and texture of traditional mayonnaise. Starch is frequently used but other hydrocolloids are also common.”

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