What Are Plant-Based Ingredients?
Raw materials derived from fruits, vegetables, and plants are considered plant-based ingredients. These plant-sourced ingredients serve as nutritious additions or substitutes for non-plant-based options.
Recently, the plant-based ingredients market has been soaring and is estimated to reach over $12 million by 2030. The growing demand for plant-based drinks and food is driven by various factors, such as lifestyle changes, food intolerances, and more health-conscious consumers.
In this article, we will discuss five of the most popular plant-based ingredients for beverages and the best ways to incorporate them into your functional drinks.
Top 5 Plant-Based Beverage Ingredients
1. Plant-Based Milk
Plant-based milk ingredients include nuts, grains, or seeds that have been soaked in water and then strained. These milk alternatives offer a range of flavors and cater to diverse dietary needs, making them a valuable addition to your beverage formulation.
Non-dairy milks make up a majority of the profit margin for the plant-based beverage market. Their immense popularity and profitability have impacted the sales and demand for standard milk. For these reasons, drink companies include plant-based milk options in their ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees, protein shakes, and so much more.
2. Plant-Based Protein
The RTD vegan plant-based protein shake market has been revolutionized by plant-based protein options. Derived from sources like peas, hemp, and brown rice, plant-powered protein offers clean, sustainable, and allergen-friendly options.
Beverage manufacturers have developed plant-based protein drinks that are packed with essential amino acids. These plant-based vegan drinks with protein fuel workouts and support muscle recovery, making them an ideal choice for fitness enthusiasts seeking plant-derived nutrition.
3. Plant-Derived Coloring
Research has shown the harmful health effects artificial colors, such as Red 40, have on consumers. The skepticism surrounding artificial colors has led drink companies to prioritize using natural colors in their beverages. Natural colors are derived from fruits, vegetables, and plants, such as beets, hibiscus, and turmeric.
There are a few factors to consider when including this plant-based ingredient in the beverage formulation process. Due to their natural elements, plant-derived colorings may impart some flavor. Natural red, blue, and purple colorings contain the plant compound anthocyanins, which are prone to oxidation when exposed to high heat. It is essential to consider this reaction, as it can significantly impact the final color of your beverage formula. At Newport Bottling & Canning, our flavor chemists have over 40 years of experience creating beverage formulas using natural plant-based colors.
4. Plant-Based Waters
The typical sports drink is loaded with artificial ingredients that provide more harm than hydration for fitness enthusiasts. This has led plant-based waters, like coconut water, to rise in popularity in the plant-based beverage market.
Coconut water can provide more hydration for fewer calories compared to sports beverages with high-sugar content. This plant-based ingredient offers a natural and sustainable way to restore the body’s hydration. Since coconut water has a 95% water content, it ensures seamless integration into beverage production lines.
5. Plant-Derived Flavors
Natural flavors are flavoring agents sourced from plants and vegetable extracts. These plant-based ingredients are hand-crafted by experienced flavor chemists to replace artificial flavors. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer values have shifted towards consuming natural products with high nutritional value, leading to an increased demand for plant-based drink ingredients, such as natural flavors.
At Newport Bottling & Canning, we team up with our in-house natural flavoring company, Nature’s Flavors, to offer innovative plant-based ingredients for custom drink formulation. This partnership creates a seamless beverage development experience from start to finish!