Vegan meals offering expands

Freeze dried ingredient specialist European Freeze Dry has unveiled its latest new products as it continues to grow its plant-based offering.

The company, which provides diverse freeze dried ingredients to the food and beverage sector, has expanded its vegan freeze dried meal range to include couscous based dishes and a vegan bolognaise, complementing the already wide range of freeze dried vegetables and pulses.

It follows the development of two new meat alternatives, vegan chicken and vegan mince, in addition to freeze dried jackfruit which was launched earlier this year.

Diana Morris, Country Manager for European Freeze Dry, said: “The vegan market is rapidly expanding as more people are seeing the benefits of following a plant-based diet. What we’ve noticed is that not everyone is necessarily looking to make the transition to a full vegan lifestyle, but some may instead prefer one or two meat and dairy free days a week.

“Therefore, the need for plant-based meals and snacks that are quick and easy to access and prepare is growing, as is reflected in the demand from our customers.

“It’s important for vegan meals to be fully-rounded, containing balanced ingredients that are healthy and tasty. Using alternatives, for example coconut milk instead of cream, we’re able to offer vegan versions of classic favourites, working closely with our customers to provide solutions to their requirements – from initial concept right through to final sign off.”

A study conducted by Berlin-based vegan supermarket chain Veganz revealed that the number of vegans in Europe has doubled in just four years from 1.3million to 2.6million, with the vegan trend strongest in Germany and more than 30 per cent of Europeans saying they are consciously consuming less meat.

At European Freeze Dry, all products for freeze drying start as frozen raw materials, and undergo a process known as sublimation under specifically designed programmes.

The freeze drying process uses a deep vacuum under which neither ice or water can exist. The pressure from the vacuum, with a controlled amount of heat applied, causes the ice to leave the product as a vapour trail leaving a natural dried product.

The reduction in water in the final freeze dried product means there is a much reduced potential for microorganisms existing in such low amounts of water, leading to a shelf life of up to two years at room temperature.