Client case: 6 tasty legume-based products

At Schouten we have a diverse clientele and receive all kinds of requests – one day we might get a request to produce a vegetarian hamburger for an international retailer’s private label, and the next day a manufacturer will ask us to brainstorm with them about a new range of vegetarian products. But before the first batch of a vegan sausage or vegetarian cheeseburger is produced, there’s a lot that has to happen. A product must first be conceived and developed, designed, made, tasted and tested. To give you a picture of how such a development plan runs its course, we will elaborate here on the collaboration with one of our clients.

Trend: Greater demand for meat substitutes

The market for meat substitutes has seen sharp growth over the past few years. This trend is expected to continue in the coming years, as consumers are increasingly looking for alternatives to meat – sometimes because of health implications, sometimes because of climate or animal welfare considerations. Consumers are also becoming increasingly conscious of the health benefits associated with a plant-based diet. Government agencies and food industry giants alike continue to invest in products based on plant-based protein, expanding the selection available to consumers.

Europe: Market volume of products based on plant-based protein 2017-2025 (in $ Millions):

e- Estimated growth; p- Projected growth
*Others: slices/cutlets, fillets, chops, sticks and pieces/crumble

Case in point: Top brand goes for legumes

This client operates worldwide producing various top-brand products. They wanted to introduce a vegetarian product range in the European retail sector, thereby improving the vegetarian selection available to consumers. Schouten first came into contact with this client a number of years ago, and while vegetarian and vegan products were less popular then, current market developments encouraged the client to get on the bandwagon. They wanted us to develop sausages, burgers and balls on the basis of different types of legumes.

The development process: From recipe to tasty products

Based on the client’s culinary recipe, we embarked on the process of developing the products with our ingredients in our R&D kitchen. The client already came up with a number of flavourful concepts/ideas, which we are industrializing, making some adjustments here and there along the way. After all, a culinary recipe is not automatically suited for large scale production. We carefully take a look at binding (firmness of a product), doneness, coloration, bite and flavour. In addition, we optimize the nutritional values of the products (adding vitamins and minerals, if necessary), ensuring the products are not just tasty, but also comply with prescribed guidelines for healthy food.

Product packaging: From design to package

The client has provided the design for the packaging. We have purchased the cardboard boxes and subsequently packaged the products. Not all clients prefer a custom-made design, in which case we will just package the products in our standard bulk packages. The client also has the option of packaging the products in-house.

End result: 6 different products

We ended up developing 6 products for the client – various sausages, burgers and balls. Each product has a characteristic flavour and nutritional content and is marketed differently. To ensure the quality of the products, our R&D department maintains close contact with the client’s commercial and quality departments. This way we can be certain that the consumer will get the best quality possible.

Do you also have an idea or concept for a vegan or vegetarian product?

Do you have a question about this case study or would you like to propose an idea to us? We’re always curious about new vegetarian and vegan concepts and are happy to brainstorm with you. Contact us right away.

    Producer? Plant-based: A guarantee for success!

    More and more producers of meals, pizzas, salads, soups and various other product categories use plant-based protein products for successful market introductions. Please download our white paper to find out how plant-based protein products add value to your business.

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