Brooklyn-based co-founders Andrew McClure and Aidan Altman have developed a vegan butter made from aquafaba – a viscous liquid left over from cooking chickpeas – that they are marketing under their Fora Foods brand. “Faba Butter” is set to launch in the spring and is said to have the same consistently and cookability as traditional butter.
Altman told FoodNavigator that they have already started working with vegan chefs and they have been receiving a lot of positive feedback regarding their new product.
“We’ve worked with some vegan chefs and they tell us that it’s the most functional butter alternative on the market that they have worked with.”
According to Altman, Faba Butter has a “creamy, dairy-like mouthfeel” and “cooks, bakes, spreads and melts like butter.” These qualities can really help Faba Butter to stand out in the market as many consumers are turning to dairy alternatives.
“Aquafaba is a great clean label, natural emulsifier. But from a sensory perspective, it also adds depth of flavor, which allows us to mimic that of grass-fed dairy butter,” added Altman.
Aquafaba also absorbs some of the nutrients from chickpeas, giving the ingredient added nutritional value. The liquid is already being used in a variety of dairy-free alternatives such as Fabanaiase – an aquafaba based mayonnaise substitute. Atlman claims that Fora Foods – who source their aquafaba from hummus producers who would usually throw it away – will be launching more aquafaba-based products in the near future.
However, the start-up company has a lot of competition in the buttery spreads category. Brands like Country Crock, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, Earth Balance, Smart Balance and Melt Organics are currently dominating the butter-substitute category.
The Fora Foods co-founder argued that their product is a cleaner label option for consumers and manufacturers.
“We do not use any natural flavors or colours as nearly all of our competitors do, and we do not use any preservatives like EDTA.”
The market for vegan condiments is growing and many consumers see these new products as healthy additions to their lifestyle. The growing interest in healthy fats like avocado and coconuts has driven manufacturers to produce products like flax oil, sesame oil and grapeseed oil. Faba Butter, being composed of a mixer of aquafaba and coconut oil, has potential to be the next “healthy fat” source for these consumers. The product is free from preservatives and artificial ingredients as well, making it an appealing choice for the health-focused millennial market.
Fora Foods hopes that their sustainable production methods will also be an added bonus for drawing in consumers.
“Dairy butter uses so much land, water, food…we aim to create a sustainable choice with no concessions on flavor or functionality,” Altman told FoodNavigator.
In terms of market appeal, Fora Food’s Faba Butter has a lot of qualities that are favorable to consumers today. However, this new health trend has sparked the launch of a variety of “healthy” products that can be seen as competition for Fora Foods. The company’s use of aquafaba in their formulations helps them to stand out ingredient-wise.