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New opportunities for the vegan ingredient sector, says AltaBioscience, as demand for plant-based food soars

4 min read
AUTHOR: Ana Delgado
Selection of vegetarian protein sources

The pandemic may have had a significant impact on the retail sector, however, not in the case of UK consumer plant-based product demand. Recent polls have shown that an increasing number of Brits are trialling vegetarian or vegan diets, and the Veganuary campaign reported a record number of sign-ups in 2021 with over 582,000 people taking the challenge and eat vegan food for the month of January. 

In the same vein, according to The Guardian, the number of trademarks registered for new vegan food and drink products in the UK more than doubled to a record high last year as consumer demand for plant-based alternatives rocketed.

With more time on their hands during lockdown, and worrying how COVID-19 affects human health, people began paying more attention to their nutrition and increasingly started to adopt a flexitarian diet. As a result, the fast-growing vegan food category is now attracting interest from large multinational businesses with the resources to invest heavily in branded products.

AltaBioscience, which delivers rapid amino acid analysis for the food, drink, and nutraceuticals industries, has likewise experienced and benefitted from this current rise of meat and dairy-free diets, and has seen an increase in requests for plant-based food analysis in recent years. The company’s two amino acid testing services provide quantification of all 20 natural amino acids as well as some non-standard amino acids.

AltaBioscience was the sponsor for our Food Matters Live 2021 Plant-based Product of the Year Award. Marion Peak, Managing Director at AltaBioscience, said about the event: “We were delighted to sponsor the plant-based product of the year at Food Matters Live. There are now some 7 million adults in the UK following a meat-free diet. To serve this growing need, food and drink manufacturers are looking at the next must-have plant-based ingredients and extending the range of foods available.” 

For AltaBioscience plant-based industry has seen quite a few changes in the last six months.
“We’ve definitely seen more plant-based analysis requests, and requests from raw ingredient manufacturers and distributors.”, said Marion Peak. “Not only are we now looking at the whole product, but we’re also looking at individual amino acids that may be put into blends, supplements and end products. So, we’re looking at the analysis from different starting points. We’ve seen an increase in raw ingredient analysis with people checking that the amino acids they’re getting from other from suppliers, are what they say they are.

There’s not just an increase coming in from the human consumption side of plant-based products, we’ve also seen an increase in companies looking for analysis of their pet supplies, which increasingly are also meat free. “, continues Peak. “This is definitely something which you didn’t actually see a few years ago, but more increasingly pet owners are looking for meat-free products for their pets.”

Restaurants have also added more plant-based options on their menus in the last few years, opening the door to more food products and innovation.
“The variety of food on menus when it comes to plant-based options has been very narrow over the past decade, but as demand for this has increased, so have these menu options and I think this growing demand creates a great opportunity for food innovation.”, concludes Marion Peak.

About AltaBioscience

AltaBioscience provides amino acid analysis, protein sequencing and custom peptide synthesis services globally, with a heritage dating back to 1973. The company serves an international customer base that includes academic, pharmaceutical, healthcare and food industry-related researchers, and product development specialists. 

The company’s total amino acid service quantifies the amino acids bound within proteins along with those present as individual unbound units, and the free amino acid service determines the amount of each amino acid not bound to a protein – information that is particularly important in the analysis of Taurine in pet foods and sports nutritional supplements. 

AltaBioscience has recently been re-accredited at ISO/IEC 17025:2017 by UKAS, the National Accreditation Body for the United Kingdom, for its demonstrated expertise, technical ability and commitment to quality in both amino acid analysis and N-terminal protein sequencing.  

AltaBioscience is a spinout from the University of Birmingham. Accredited to ISO17025:2017, the company prides itself on its scientific expertise and delivers customer support from highly skilled specialists, who provide assistance throughout the whole project.

For further information, see the Altabioscience website, or email or phone +44 (0)1527 584495


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