Yeast Extract – Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly

Yeast extract is the perfect ingredient for those looking to expand their vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diet offerings such as sips, spreads and condiments. Flexitarian, being a diet that does consist of meat and fish in moderation to help with sustainability. Plainly, yeast extract is perfect for everyone. Think of yeast extract as another ingredient to add to a dish, any dish; sauces, soups, salads, sandwiches, anything. Yeast extract serves as a healthy source of protein, vitamin B, reduces the need for salt and, because it is 100% animal free, it is all inclusive for those following vegan and vegetarian diets.

This single ingredient is capable of enhancing a wide variety of flavors including meaty and fishy flavors. With the three to five step process to create, depending on how it is abstracted, it can cause variations in taste. This ability allows this one ingredient to mimic many types of flavors in a rich and fulfilling way. For the flexitarian, yeast extract is a great way to mock a grilled flavor in meats while enhancing and melding all of the natural flavors of the other ingredients in the dish, helping to limit the amount of meat intake and better meet dietary nutrition recommendations. And for the vegan and vegetarian diets, yeast extract is a key ingredient for meat analogs, bringing a rich, umami taste with none of the animal product.

Meat analogs being a food that aesthetically resembles the characteristics of certain types of meat, for those recently recruited vegans and vegetarians who are not quite ready to give up on the idea of a hamburger just yet, it is the perfect ingredient to incorporate into a plant-based recipe. With many non-meat eaters, especially those new to the lifestyle, it can be a nuisance trying to plan where to get alternative protein from. Using vegetable protein is a common ingredient in meatless products, and, while it is healthy and sustainable, it often has a noticeably poignant taste, and often times that is what turns people off from a plant-based diet. However, yeast extract is packed full of natural plant-based proteins and Vitamin B, while maintaining the ability to enhance “good” flavors and mask the off-flavor notes of vegetable proteins, creating an easy solution to developing delicious, sought-out meat analog products.

COVID-19 has exposed the consumer need, and want, for plant-based ingredients. Since March we have seen products such as Beyond Meat increase their sales exponentially. Not only have sales increased, but they have stayed consistently high over the last several months. Overall, yeast extract helps people move towards a healthier diet and lifestyle. The rich natural flavor that helps enhance and meld flavors is unique to yeast extract and is often considered the fifth taste, called umami. Umami affects the taste buds in a similar way that sweet flavors do, so many people often trade out foods with yeast extract to clinch their sweet tooth. Another way yeast extract has proved to be healthier is the ability to replicate salt flavor, therefore leading to less sodium overall. And finally, with it being an all-natural ingredient consumers can take comfort in knowing they are feeding their family only the best.