Over the years, consumers have increasingly become aware of the ingredients that go into their food and how they are processed and produced. A wave of trends driven by healthier, plant-based, and sustainable aspects has placed new demands on food producers and ingredients manufacturers.

This is also true for dairy-based products as well as dairy alternatives. Taste, stability, and economy of use of dairy products remain paramount. On the other hand, consumer concerns over animal welfare issues in the dairy industry have churned out a number of products, ranging from non-dairy creamers and yogurts to dairy-free smoothies and RTD coffee products. Production of dairy cream substitute such as imitation whipped cream is also a dynamically developing trend.

Imitation Whipping Cream over Dairy Cream – The Shift is Underway

The food industry, especially dairy and bakery, continues to undergo significant metamorphosis, as consumers increasingly demand for products that have the right texture, stability, and shelf life, and are produced using sustainable ingredients. Dairy-free or imitation whipping cream is becoming a commercially popular product, on the account of better foam stability and reduced fat content, which makes it easy to use and attractive to bakers and caterers. Moreover, the replacement of milk fat with vegetable substitutes lowers products’ prices.

Imitation whipped cream allows food manufacturers to significantly reduce the fat content of recipes, thereby catering to vegan, health-conscious market. Additionally, growing popularity of lactose-free dairy products is weighing on a same scale as rising demand for imitation whipped cream – used frequently as topping cream in cake decoration and desserts.

For long, it has been a challenge to produce imitation whipped cream that requires the right fats and combination of emulsifiers and stabilizers to deliver properties that food producers and consumers want. Further, growing demand called for rigorous R&D and product innovations. Today, ultra high temperature (UHT) process with polar emulsifier or anionic emulsifier and right stabilizers are widely used to produce high-quality imitation whipped cream.

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Imitation Whipped Cream Market to Suffer at the Hands of COVID-19

With the global outbreak of COVID-19, most industries are struggling with how to mitigate impacts from factory closures, supply chain disruptions, movement restrictions, and financial damages. While consumers demand for both dairy and non-dairy products has soared and panic buying has left grocery stores nearly empty, closures of bakery & confectionery stores, restaurants, and other major buyers that usually purchase large quantities of imitation whipped cream are forcing them to cancel orders.

As with many industries, the COVID-19 pandemic is destined to be one of the imitation whipped cream market players’ greatest adversaries. In addition to plummeting demand from major buyers, a host of disruptions that are preventing manufacturers to get their products to the market has a negative on the sales of imitation whipped cream. Additionally, a sudden shift from foodservice markets to only retail grocery stores is creating logistic nightmares for imitation whipped cream  packaging and logistics. Moreover, several manufacturers announced to halt their production and abandon their performance for 2020, as economic uncertainty intensifies.

Imitation Whipped Cream Market: The Future Lies in Product Innovations

As the COVID-19 situation evolves over time, businesses are calling for governments to provide support and guidance and rushing to steps to adapt their offerings in the face of new landscape. While the immediate response is expected to be rapid online sales and increased production level to stock up retail stores, R&D for longer shelf life and product innovations may influence growth strategies in the long-term outlook.

Considering the nature of imitation whipped cream and challenges in its production, manufacturers have been on the journey of exploration. As whipping properties versus stability represent key compromise for manufacturers, an embrace has been underway to achieve both the properties at the same time.

Product innovations will continue to remain a key focus area. For instance, in March 2019, DuPont Nutrition & Health announced that it has filed an international patent application for stabilizing ingredient solutions for imitation whipped cream. According to the company, the new version of stabilized vegetable whipping cream – Grindsted WP300 Flexwhip – will be milk protein-free and sugar-free, aligning with trends swirling around lactose intolerance and sugar reduction. Such strategic move will influence other key players to follow suit and play an instrumental role in the future market growth.

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