With 41 billion litres consumed worldwide, plant-based beverages are rising stars in the industry. It is estimated that their compound annual growth rate will be 1.9% between 2021 and 2024. This growth reflects an expanding consumer base.
For many years, vegetarians and vegans drove demand for plant-based beverages, but now more and more consumers are ‘flexitarians’. They are attracted by the health benefits of these drinks, as well as a desire to make choices that protect the environment.
Tetra Pak offers food and beverage producers that want to enter this market end-to-end support that starts with quality raw materials and goes all the way through production to plant-based packages and pallet delivery.
“The plant-based sector is fast-paced, and we help our customers keep up with what is moving and what is booming,” says Edison Kubo, director processing food category services at Tetra Pak. “These trends are not only driven by customer tastes, but also by research into new ingredients.”
An ever-increasing number of plants can be turned into beverages, including soy, oats, almonds, cashews, peas and rice. They can also be combined to create superior nutritional profiles. For example, oats can be mixed with peas to produce a beverage that is high in protein.
In Product Development Centres around the world, Tetra Pak helps customers develop, test and pilot these recipes – and then scale them up for industrial production.
Ingredients must meet expectations for sensorial quality parameters, including good mouthfeel and taste. They come from reliable suppliers and carry strict food quality certificates, ensuring high quality standards. Producers can even purchase ingredients that are already extracted and ready for production.
Adapting production lines for plant-based beverages
Tetra Pak also guides its customers through the production phase, adjusting their needs to the special requirements of plant-based beverages.
Manuel Juncal, senior product manager upgrades LF key components and filtration at Tetra Pak, says: “Tetra Pak Upgrades can help customers upgrade their current lines to handle plant-based beverages. Good practices on how to convert from milk to oat-based drinks are available – the changes depend on the design of the current line and which type of plant-based drink will be produced.”
Tetra Pak also steers them through potential pitfalls, including how to handle allergens, both in production planning and product labelling. For example, dairies generally do not produce drinks that contain almonds, to avoid labelling their dairy products “may contain nuts”.
Edison says: “Guiding our customers through this sector is another way of ‘making food safe and available, everywhere’. We combine our expertise in plant-based ingredients with our end-to-end industry expertise to offer what we call the integrated edge.”
Find out more: tetrapak.com/solutions/services.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023