Apetit, the leading producer of frozen vegetables and ready meals in Finland, recently launched a new nutritious food product on the market. Apetit’s Mini-Veggieballs is the world’s first food product that contains BlackGrain from Yellow FieldsTM. The innovative ingredient enhances the taste and appearance of the Mini-Veggieballs and works as a selling point.
Apetit is a food industry company specialising in modern plant-based food solutions. Driven by high quality and sustainability, the company is keen to develop delicious products made from high-quality raw materials to promote well-being and offer easy solutions to both home kitchens and the hotel, restaurant, and catering sector (HoReCa).
Operating at the forefront of the sustainable food industry means minimising environmental impact
Operating at the forefront of the sustainable food industry, Apetit is set to use local produce and minimise the environmental impact of cultivation. Vegetarian and vegan food solutions are environmentally friendly alternatives that restaurants in the HoReCa sector are interested in, but they often find it difficult to create new vegetarian recipes.
“This is where we come in: our new product, Mini-Veggieballs, is a meat analogue product that can be added to different kinds of meals from salads to stews as a source of protein in schools and staff restaurants, for example,” explains Hanna Pere, Product Development and Portfolio Manager at Apetit.
Also, to help prevent food waste in HoReCa kitchens, the product is sold in large 4-kilogram cases, frozen and already fully cooked.
High-quality raw materials result in a nutritious and delicious product
According to Pere, customers in the HoReCa sector are on the lookout for products that are rich in protein and fibre. Apetit’s new plant-based product answers this need: it is made of pea protein and contains the fibre- and protein-rich rapeseed powder BlackGrain.
“We were excited to test BlackGrain in our product. As it is rich in fibre and protein and contains essential amino acids, it increases the nutritional value of the Mini-Veggieballs,” Pere says.
BlackGrain adds the finishing touch to the final product
To get the taste, structure, and colour of the product just right, Apetit organised several tastings both in-house and with customers. Teemu Hursti, Chef at Apetit, was in charge of organising the tastings.
“In product tastings, we tested the Mini-Veggieballs with and without BlackGrain. The one with BlackGrain was the clear winner, and we received a lot of positive feedback on its taste and structure,” Hursti praises.
According to Hursti, adding BlackGrain to the recipe had an overall positive impact on the final product. Taste is everything, in vegetarian products especially.
“BlackGrain not only softens and neutralises the strong taste of pea protein but keeps the structure of the Mini-Veggieballs more succulent. Also, BlackGrain enhances the appearance of the product by adding a bit of colour,” Hursti says.
Creating products that suit everyone regardless of diet limitations
Apetit’s selection for HoReCa restaurants covers a large variety of vegetarian products. Most of them are also vegan, but what matters more especially in the HoReCa sector, is that allergens are minimised.
“Our aim is to make products that are as allergen-free as possible because it is a major benefit for our customers. Therefore, our new product is gluten-free, egg-free, soy-free and vegan. As BlackGrain also fits all of these requirements, it was a perfect addition to our product from that perspective, too.”
A new innovative ingredient raises interest and serves as a selling point
Using the new innovative ingredient BlackGrain has raised a lot of interest among customers. In the product testing phase, positive feedback from customers indicated that it was the right move to add BlackGrain to the recipe.
“Adding BlackGrain to our Mini-Veggieballs means adding value to the product. It enhances the nutritional value of the product by increasing the amount of protein and fibre. This is especially important to our customers in the public HoReCa sector,” Hursti sums up.
“BlackGrain makes the product stand out as people are increasingly opting for healthy foods. The product has received a warm welcome from our customers,” Pere continues.