‘Helping customers stay a step ahead’: I.T.S launches a better 'I can't believe there's no butter' flavour for plant-based batters

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The enhanced dairy and egg-free product was ‘richer’, with ‘significantly improved creaminess and buttery characteristics’. Pic: I.T.S
The enhanced dairy and egg-free product was ‘richer’, with ‘significantly improved creaminess and buttery characteristics’. Pic: I.T.S

Related tags International Taste Solutions plant-based Eggs Dairy Veganuary Bakery

UK natural flavour house International Taste Solutions (I.T.S) has developed a range of natural free from flavour enhancers that replicate the indulgent characteristics of dairy and eggs in bakery products.

The launch taps into the trajectory interest in plant-based diets. In fact, last year, almost 79 million of the global population was estimated to be vegan. Veganuary is a UK charity that started in 2014 essentially to inspire consumers to try ditching anything animal-based for January, and throughout the rest of the year.

Fast forward to 2021 and Veganuary said more than half a million people sign up to follow the 2021 campaign.

Veganuary in numbers

  • Almost 600,000 people signed up to the 2021 campaign
  • People from 209 countries and territories took part
  • More than 825 new vegan products and menus were launched for Veganuary 2021
  • 98% said they would recommend Veganuary to a friend
  • The 2021 campaign was featured in more than 1,500 media stories

Behind the curve

Carl Smith, head of innovations at I.T.S, said while demand for plant-based is rising, until now the bakery sector has been a little behind the curve.

That’s a large section of the buying public that bakers and bakery producers cannot afford to ignore, especially when treats are still the hot ticket amid an uncertain world. Covid, thankfully, seems to be slowing down, but other challenges like the rising cost of living and product shortages constantly lurk.

“Our bakery customers … asked us for help in enhancing the flavour of their vegan cakes and bakery ranges,”​ said Smith.

“We set about creating a straightforward alternative to the options currently available from the larger flavour houses.”

Available in liquid and powder formats, ITS said Vegan Boost offers an all-in-one solution to improve the sensory quality of a range of plant-based cake and patisserie products by accentuating buttery and creamy flavours.

There also a higher strength range available, for a mega flavour punch.

Any baker worth his salt knows that eggs provide structure, leavening, richness, colour and flavour, while dairy. According to I.T.S, there are several ingredients on the market today that bakers can use to rebuild the structural properties when dairy and egg ingredients have been removed, however, these typically create off-notes.

Vegan Boost mask any undesirable tones and delivers ‘an authentic flavour experience’ to ensure a quality of product that even a non-vegan consumer would find difficult to turn their nose at.

“Vegan Boost offers no-nonsense flavours, and it provides an easy-to-use solution that is proven to work.

“We’re passionate about helping our customers stay a step ahead of their competitors,”​ added Smith, noting the company’s A Braver Flavour payoff line conveys both its ethos and the benefits it offers.

“We stand with anyone who wants to do something new, something different or something braver. And we believe Vegan Boost thrusts the plant-based bakery sector into a new era of innovation.”

Walk the talk

During development, I.T.S called in a panel of taste-testers to put Vegan Boost through its paces to confirm the quality could meet its assertion. The group was tasked to compare the organoleptic characteristics – such as ‘buttery’, ‘richness’, ‘indulgent’ and ‘creamy’ – of a cupcake and a brioche: the first pair containing typical egg and dairy replacers; the second made with Vegan Boost.

The first cupcake fell short on many of the sensory elements. However, the flavour experts found the addition of Vegan Boost to the second cupcake ramped up its fatty notes and buttery quality, amplifying its perceived indulgence.

To create the vegan brioche, I.T.S replaced the milk, butter and eggs with almond milk, olive oil, vegan butter and a small amount of lemon juice. This version performed poorly in the taste test, but the panellists were blown over by the second prototype – which contained Vegan Boost Extra (the higher strength range) – noting the enhanced dairy and egg-free brioche was ‘richer’, with ‘significantly improved creaminess and buttery characteristics’.

Established in 2009, International Taste Solutions is a family-owned natural flavour and texture provider. Its facilities in Newbury, Berkshire, include an innovation centre, test bakery, dairy pilot plant and beverage development. The specialist prides itself on its BRC AA accredited manufacturing, which is free from the 14 major food allergens.

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