Ice cream, sushi and gin – the sky’s the limit for brilliant beetroot

Raw organic farm beetroot on a vintage wooden cutting board on a plain black background. Top View

Beetroot flavoured ice-cream, sushi and gin could make up a range of new product lines over the next 12 months, as demand for the emerging superfood ingredient is expected to drive NPD.

According to ingredient specialist European Freeze Dry, interest in the root vegetable is spiking as product managers explore the possibilities from nutrition-heavy beets.

Already well known as a versatile vegetable for plant-based burgers, salads, dips and cold juices, its health properties, coupled with vibrant colouring, mean the ingredient is high on the list for many NPD managers.

Recent studies into beetroot’s nutritional and health benefits show positive results that the ingredient helps to lower blood pressure, has high antioxidant properties and can improve digestive health. Additionally, beetroot’s nitrates can increase oxygen intake and exercise performance, while early studies suggest it may help to reduce the risk of some cancers.

As a result, new product developers are exploring the way it can be included in future product lines such as healthier ice-creams, gins and chocolates, while its natural red pigment can be added to other ingredients such as sushi rice, pizza doughs and curries to make them more vibrant and appealing.

Diana Morris, Country Manager UK for European Freeze Dry, said: “We know that the NPD trend towards plant-based superfoods is continuing to grow and companies are showing a real interest in beetroot due to its fantastic health boosting properties.

“We can see an explosion around beetroot-based meals in the same way that we have recently seen in the industry for meals with spinach, chickpeas and banana.

“While it might seem strange to some, we see adding beetroot powder to ice cream as one of the next great food trends. Freeze dried powders are a proven way to improve the quality of ice cream, while offering health benefits and offering an attractive and natural vibrant red colouring.

“It is such a versatile ingredient that we envisage adding it to plenty of meals and products in the coming future.”

With European countries such as Italy, Netherlands and Spain the largest exporters of beetroot, the ingredient also offers benefits in terms of reduced food miles, fresher produce and cheaper transport costs, meaning the continent can benefit from beetroot in a more sustainable way than other superfoods such as lentils and chickpeas.

Ten ways beetroot could be used to transform NPD in 2022

  • Beetroot ice cream
  • Beetroot infused pizza doughs
  • Beetroot flavoured sushi rice
  • Beetroot curries
  • Beetroot loaves
  • Beetroot ketchup
  • Beetroot infused gin
  • Beetroot flavoured crisps
  • Beetroot chocolate
  • Beetroot risotto