PlantbaserTM: A digital configurator revolutionises product development

From idea to finished product in just two weeks? A vision has become a reality. Planteneers makes it possible with the new PlantbaserTM. This digital configurator greatly simplifies the development of plant-based foods. Manufacturers can define the criteria for the product they want, building from Planteneers’ extensive solutions portfolio and configured to their requirements. Planteneers quickly sends them test samples of the resulting plant-based food innovations, greatly accelerating product development.

With the PlantbaserTM, manufacturers of plant-based foods can put together custom products quickly and easy from a range of different ingredients – a revolution in this market. There is currently no comparably comprehensive interactive tool. As Dr. Matthias Moser, Managing Director of the Food Ingredients Division of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, explains, “we examined in great detail where in the product development process digitalisation would pay off. If you look at the overall development process, in our view it makes the most sense to shorten the first phase of the project, from definition of the product to the first sample. With PlantbaserTM the many coordination processes can be reduced to the minimum necessary, and the customer gets a new product ready for market much more quickly and efficiently.”

Planteneers has thus applied the principle of individual product configuration, which is now well established in B2C, to the B2B food ingredients arena. Torsten Wywiol, CEO of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe, remarks, “digitalisation is making enormous progress in B2B. Digital customer contact has already become commonplace. So for us it was a logical consequence to develop an instrument that saves our customers a great deal of time and money through digital product development.”

No plant-based expertise needed

With the Planteneers configurator, customers can use the entire bandwidth of conceivable products, and give their ideas tangible form. This naturally simplifies the process of developing innovations. For conventional meat and dairy product makers, it also has the crucial advantage that it requires no dedicated plant-based expertise. The PlantbaserTM shows which proteins fit which products. In product development, customers can focus much more on marketing aspects – what’s already out there on the market, and where are there gaps?

For example, a company wanting to make a plant-based alternative to conventional yogurt can choose between various protein sources including almonds, cashews, oats and rice. They can also define allergenic ingredients that should under no circumstances be in the product. Other parameters are the production technology and product base. Properties like fat and protein content, colour, texture and mouthfeel can be defined individually. Perhaps the best part of the configuration process is that a video immediately gives a realistic impression of the product with the selected properties. Dr. Moser comments, “for this visualisation we made videos of countless products, so that customers can see what the final product will look like right on the screen. They can immediately see how the texture changes if they increase or reduce the fat or protein content.”

New product development in 15 minutes, product samples in two weeks

Within 15 to 20 minutes the customer can put together the desired product and order a sample. The sample is ready two weeks later, either as a product ready for tasting, or as a powder the customers can process themselves. The ready-to-eat version comes as a set of four individual products. Per order up to three sets can be requested. The same goes for powder, which is available in three different grammages. In addition to material and personnel, refrigerated shipping also generates costs, so samples are not free of charge.

When the customer orders a product sample, they also get the ingredients list and specifications, plus step-by-step preparation instructions and specifics on the production equipment needed. Companies can check the status of sample orders in their personalised customer account. The product details are likewise stored there. Ideally, the sample meets all expectations. In that case, the customer can order the respective compounds directly from Sales. If the flavour or texture aren’t quite where they need to be yet, a new configuration can be ordered. Planteneers experts are naturally available to address any questions. Currently customers can create their own plant-based alternatives to cheese, fermented dairy products and meat products with the aid of the PlantbaserTM. Mayonnaise can also be configured with it, and soon a variety of plant-based baked goods and alternatives to egg and fish products will be offered. The PlantbaserTM can be found at www.planteneers.com.

 

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