Interview with Wojciech Tomczak, Product Manager, Technology Advisor at Libra Food Ingredients
- Vegan products are a demanding category of the food industry. A few years ago, it seemed that the meatless segment had such broad prospects that it was endless. Today, we already know that despite the forecasted steady growth, consumers are becoming more and more aware and more demanding. A vegan certificate is the basis for entering the market, but in itself it does not guarantee success.
- Currently, store shelves offer a wide range of various meatless products, as consumers - we definitely have a great choice. But for manufacturers this means an increasing competition!
- This segment is diverse. There are many large, stable companies with a long history in the industry, which have expanded their activities to include vegan products. But there are also a lot of start-ups whose mission is to find vegan solutions. In veganism we see great potential for innovative solutions.
- Yes, we can say that this segment is based on technology. This is its strength, but it is also one of the main objections of supporters of the meat diet. Vegetarianism and veganism used to be associated with healthy plant food. Now it’s different – it’s associated with highly processed foods, with a very long label and lots of E additives.
Therefore, if we think of a niche to develop in the veg segment, we immediately turn to natural ingredients, short labels, popular vegetables.
- Such a return to basics is more associated with home cooking. Is it possible to make such natural products in industrial production?
– Working on the vegan offer, in our R&D Department we were looking for a solution that guarantees a clean label. As part of further trials, we decided to use the solution we have in Libra for the bakery industry. It is Fiberstick - a mixture of fibers used in the production of bread from only grains and seeds or cereal bars. We received burgers with a well-rated consistency, color and taste. Edyta Towarnicka-Dylewska talked more about this product in the text “Fiberstick for special tasks”. Now we decided to use its advantages as a binder in burgers and vegan meatballs.
- Fiberstick was created as an ingredient in diet bread for consumers with health problems. You ensure that it is a natural product with health benefits.
- Surprisingly, it turned out to work perfectly as a binder for vegan burgers. We now have ready-made burger and patty recipes made with soy texturate and Fiberstick with the addition of sunflower seeds, amaranth and oatmeal. The vegetable addition was, of course, beet. Another version is fried mushrooms, which are umami rich and give a unique strong and deep flavour to the burgers.
- From what I understand, I expect that vegan products using the properties of the fibers contained in Fiberstick can be made from a wide variety of vegetables. Looking forward to more naturally healthy products that are free of E additives and with a short label. Thank you for the interview!