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German R&D company Planteneers has unveiled a new configurator. The ‘Plantbaser’ has been designed for use by food manufacturers. The platform allows new product ideas to go from concept to prototype in as little as two weeks. Samples are sent out straight away to further quicken progress.
The Plantbaser allows animal-free food producers to take ideas from the drawing board to market in record time. Users click through a series of options to configure the ideal finished product. Choices include protein sources, finished colour and allergens that have to be avoided. Products are then authenticated, saved nd ready to prototype. The process has been designed to be user-friendly and comprehensive, allowing for minimal tweaking.
Responsive for the market
As the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to soar, the Plantbaser claims to give manufacturers a competitive edge. As one niche of the sector proves popular, new products can be developed and released quickly to ride the wave.
Planteneers argues that there is no other similarly efficient tool. “We examined in great detail where in the product development process digitalisation would pay off,” said Dr. Matthias Moser, managing director of parent company Stern-Wywiol Gruppe in a statement. “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 Plantbaser 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.”
The notion behind the Plantbaser was to extend configuration tooling, common in B2C, to the B2B market. The company noted the platform will prove useful for conventional meat and dairy producers looking to break into the plan-based sector. No expert knowledge is needed to get started and the configurator offers an immediate rendering of what a finished product will look like, given the properties selected.
“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,” said Moser.
Planteneers estimates that full configuration will take up to 20 minutes, with products samples sent out two weeks later. Ingredients and nutritional information is supplied alongside preparation instructions. If changes are needed, they can be made and saved in the configurator. Upon design of the perfect item, scaled quantities can be ordered directly. At present, deli products, dairy and meat alternatives can be designed. In the future, Planteneers hope to add baked goods, egg and fish substitutes.
The foundation of the plant-based sector
R&D facilities are creating the biggest plant-based and cruelty-free breakthroughs. 2021 saw a vast number opening around the world, creating systems for new developments in the coming year.
Los Angeles’ Beyond Meat announced its new plant, located in Shangai, this month. Scientists and researchers will be in place, developing meat alternatives for the APAC market. The opening is part of a global expansion programme.
The cultivated meat and seafood industries bore witness to new plants springing up. Shiok Meats unveiled Singapore’s first mini-plant for the development of cultivated seafood in November. The company hopes to be market-ready by 2023.
Lead image generated from Planteneer imagery.