Fermented food for thought: enjoy it all

The growth in fresh fermented dairy products is well documented - with the global yogurt market alone set to surpass $100 billion within four years[1].

But increasingly we are seeing growing consumer interest in all kinds of other fermented foods and beverages packed with natural and nutrient-dense ingredients – from kombucha mixed with alcoholic spirits, to sourdough focaccia, to fermented milk drinks in a range of fruity and herbal flavors. Why is this? And what can smart manufacturers do to exploit this trend?

Here at DSM, we know that people want to enjoy great taste and texture, while also being healthy and sustainable (with less food waste). Pleasing consumers – it’s not an easy job, but here are some thoughts on how you can achieve it.

Taking a ‘healthy’ interest in fermentation  

So why the booming interest in fermented foods? Since the advent of COVID-19, some 46%[2]  of consumers[i] globally have now turned to food to boost their immune health as part of a proactive approach to managing their health. Furthermore, recent research [DC1] shows that fermentation enhances the nutritional profile of ingredients compared with non-fermented alternatives, helping in the prevention or treatment of metabolic diseases and improving overall health.

For example, fermented ingredients are rich in beneficial bacteria and gut-specific nutrients that aid digestion and repopulate the gut microbiome; while high antioxidant properties and bacteria in fermented ingredients could trigger immune responses to fight against infections. Most importantly, this has clearly not gone unnoticed by keen-eyed consumers.

From immunity to indulgence

But while fermented ingredients help enhance food and drinks’ nutritional profile, they can also boost the sensory profile. For example, consumers are increasingly looking for the artisanal authenticity of fermented foods - but in innovative and indulgent applications like kimchi crisps or whiskey-type flavors in low-alcohol beverages.

Why the exotic taste? Once again, the pandemic could hold the answer, as lockdowns encouraged people to explore international foods to compensate for their lack of travel. As a result, we have seen fermented foods like kimchi, miso and kombucha skyrocket in popularity outside their countries of origin – to the point where 2020 saw a 149% increase [DC1] in fermented foods on restaurant menus.

So how can DSM help?

Tackling the taste challenge

Developing fermented flavors creates challenges in formulation, stability and both longevity and quality of flavornotably through an unpleasant off-taste. Unsurprisingly, consumers generally prefer products that mimic more traditional dairy flavors, so any beany off-notes often associated with plant proteins can turn them off fermented foods.

This is an area where DSM can help, for example through Modumax®. This natural taste modulator which helps create preferred taste profiles in yogurts for example, with high-intensity sweetener or lower fat – all supported by DSM’s 150 years of fermentation expertise, essential for successfully developing these products at scale.

Feel the plant-based fortification 

While fermented foods are healthy, they don’t necessarily tick all the nutritional boxes. Take plant-based yogurts. Formulating these products with nutritional values comparable to their dairy equivalents isn’t easy. Just one way of bridging this nutrition gap is to use DSM’s complete plant protein isolate, CanolaPRO®. It contains all the amino acids needed to support muscle growth, so consumers can enjoy the same benefits as their dairy counterparts – with no compromise on taste or texture.  

Sustainability is the reality

Today, 30% of food is wasted because it passes the ‘best before date’3 – and of course that includes yogurt. With manufacturers like Danone striving to solve this problem (through their recent ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ re-labelling), here at DSM we are doing our part to help – for example, through our Delvo®Guard bioprotective cultures.

In extensive tests, the four latest DSM Delvo®Guard cultures showed a noticeably less amount of yeast and mold compared to dairy products with similar market references, when left for a similar time period and at similar temperatures. And all acheiveved without the off-taste of traditional chemicals like sorbates. Enjoy it all.


1 FMCG GURUS, 2021

2 Global Industry Analytics ‘"Yoghurt - Global Market Trajectory & Analytics" 2021


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Published on
09 August 2022

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