Plant-based proteins as a supplement
Plant-based alternatives are now a must for every food manufacturer. A number of new products enrich DMK's portfolio – without competing with the milk range.
Whether from oats, soy, peas or rice – the choice of plant-based products is growing at record pace. The category now occupies a permanent place on the refrigerated shelves. For farmers, this may be a frightening development – but it doesn't have to be, if you actively deal with the situation.
According to a study by the market research institute GfK, every third household in Germany now buys plant-based alternatives to animal proteins.
What does this mean for DMK? The production of plant-based products is an absolute must, to meet the needs of consumers and thus remain competitive. At the same time, the plant-based line does not serve as a substitute. Milk is and remains DMK's main product and core. The average consumer of DMK products is not vegan, but belongs to the large mass of nutrition-conscious people who integrate plant-based alternative products as a supplement into their everyday lives.
We have anchored strategic growth areas in our "Vision 2030" presented in 2019. With the production of vegan products, we are dedicating ourselves to a new business field and, as a food manufacturer, will help to shape the nutrition of the future in a sustainable way.
This means that vegan products made by DMK will be part of the product range in the future.
In early 2022, several concepts that have made it through market research and taste tests will be launched on the market: Schoko- und Vanillepudding, vegan cocoa, a vegan dessert and a vegan cheese alternative.
As Europe's largest dairy cooperative, we know what plant-based milk alternatives should taste like and can use the know-how we have built up over decades to do just that. This will enable us to win over not only existing but also new target groups with sustainable and diverse vegan products of the highest quality from early 2022 onwards.
This much is clear: milk will always remain the core business of the company.
Nevertheless, DMK is facing ever greater challenges from its competitors – nationally and on the world market. In order to continue to act as an active food producer here, it is important to respond to the needs of consumers and these needs require a significant expansion of our portfolio: Besides our main product, milk, we will therefore also offer plant-based alternatives in the future.
Reaction on the market
Customers who choose DMK know, love and appreciate traditional milk products from childhood. At the same time, they are opening up more and more to the vegan product world. According to a study by ING Research/Euromonitor 2020, total revenue from plant-based alternative products will be around five billion euros in the EU in 2024. Last year, it was still just under three billion euros. In Germany, too, the trend is moving in this direction, with total revenue for vegan food increasing by 87 per cent within four years. Generation Z in particular – the under-30s – are changing their buying behaviour, and it is important to respond to this. The reasons for this nutrition transformation are global population growth, increasing resource consumption, climate protection, changing health awareness and flavour. The issue of animal welfare is also playing an increasingly important role among consumers.
DMK does not see this development as a disadvantage, but rather as an opportunity to expand the product range and tap into new target groups. Entering the business field of plant-based alternatives is a natural move for us. We want to help shape this development in order to live up to our vision 'First Choice. A Whole Life Long'.
Cheese for every taste
With our vegan cheese alternative “Velander” we are setting new standards in the market in this category: the latest vegan product in the DMK range not only tastes good, but also convinces in further processing with the browning and melting behaviour familiar from classic cheese. In the first step, the vegan cheese alternative will be available to industrial customers from Q4 2022.
Thanks in particular to different recipes for cold and hot application, the vegan DMK cheese variant offers clear advantages for customers and consumers compared to the current market standard.
Velander is produced at DMK's largest cheese location in Edewecht, Lower Saxony. Where more than 3 million litres of milk are processed into cheese every day, the company has created its own additional production area. The Velander was developed by DMK experts based on decades of cheese expertise.
Our sweet dessert classics in vegan
Plant-based desserts are enjoyable too. Our sweet MILRAM Haferpudding range are the best proof of this. These plant-based blancmanges have gluten-free oats as the basic raw ingredient and owe their natural flavour to bourbon vanilla & selected, UTZ-certified cocoa.
Our MILRAM Reisdessert auf Haferbasis is also plant-based, gluten-free and lactose-free.
Ready to serve in a convenient 1,000g soft pack, it is ideal for enhancing with fruit or cinnamon as a dessert or whole meal. Again, no artificial flavorings, preservatives or flavor enhancers are used.
All plant-based dessert products are also part of the gastronomy range.
With the oat-based MILRAM Kakao Drink, the brand is also offering a variant of one of the most successful products in the mixed milk drink segment, which will give new impetus at the shelf.
Good to know: Questions and answers about our vegan products
Why is DMK, as a dairy cooperative, involved with plant-based alternatives?
As a dairy cooperative, we have a deep understanding of the flavour, quality and processing of cow's milk and can also transfer this to alternative products. Plant-based milk alternatives target similar consumer needs to dairy products. So it makes sense for us to accompany this development and, as a food manufacturer, to help shape the nutrition of the future in this market segment as well.
What is the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
Vegetarian = meat-free
vegan = plant-based, free from animal products, no milk used
According to the definition of the Consumer Protection Conference of Ministers:
Foods are vegan if they do not contain products of animal origin and for which, in all stages of production and processing, no
- Ingredients (including additives, carriers, flavourings and enzymes) or
- Processing aids or
- Non-food additives used in the same way and for the same purpose as processing aids,
of animal origin, have been added or used in processed or unprocessed form.
Vegetarian foodstuffs are foodstuffs which meet the requirements of paragraph 1 but in the production of which, by way of diversion therefrom
3. farm poultry eggs,
4. bee honey,
6. propolis or
7. wool fat/lanolin from wool obtained from live sheep, or their components or products derived therefrom may have been added or used.
A claim to be vegan or vegetarian shall not be precluded by unintentional inputs of products which do not comply with the respective requirements of paragraph 1 or 2 if and to the extent that these are technically unavoidable at all stages of production, processing and distribution, despite appropriate precautions taken in compliance with good manufacturing practice.
Is vegan certified? How is it certified?
Our vegan products are certified by the independent V-Label GmbH, based in Switzerland. In order to receive the vegan certificate, we have to prove to V-Label that our products contain only vegan ingredients and that no animal auxiliary materials are used in production. V-Label GmbH checks each product individually and then gives the go-ahead for the use of the vegan label on the packaging. In addition to product testing, each plant where we produce vegan products is also audited by V-Label.
Where and how are the products produced?
The vegan cheese will be produced in a new independent production area with new systems technology at the Edewecht plant from summer 2022.
In the sector of the white line plant-based alternatives, we are proud that our current product ventures are produced at our own sites in Erfurt and Zeven.
How does DMK define the sustainability of the raw material?
DMK attaches great importance to responsible procurement and does not compromise on quality and safety requirements. The sustainability of raw materials is defined on the basis of social and ecological requirements, e.g. climate and environmental impact (water, biodiversity, energy), but also compliance with social standards and fair supplier relations.