Rich Products Corp., Buffalo, N.Y., launched its first complete liquid dairy alternative for the professional kitchen.

Making its debut under the company’s Culinary Solutions sub-brand is a “chef-inspired,” plant-based cooking creme.

“This is a long-awaited innovation that can serve as a superior alternative to liquid dairy in terms of both performance and taste,” says Carolyn Tomlinson, senior marketing manager for Rich’s foodservice division. “It enables chefs and operators across all industries to feed groups with dietary preferences, restrictions and sensitivities, which has for years been a significant challenge. Our plant-based cooking creme is void of the ‘Big 8’ allergens, which includes milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy. This allows chefs the freedom to make creative, delicious, inspired dishes for everyone to enjoy, regardless of their dietary needs.”

The groundbreaking product qualifies as vegan, gluten-free, kosher-parve and halal, and contains zero artificial flavors or colors.

“The product has an innate, very appealing, yet very mellow flavor that stands above liquid dairy,” says chef Gregory Helinski, culinary manager for Rich’s national commercial chains. “It carries flavors better than dairy because it’s not bringing its own significant profile into the mix. Instead, it accepts and highlights other flavors very well, both sweet and savory, which is very liberating.”

From a handling perspective, its silky, smooth texture won’t split or scorch, like heavy cream does, and won’t form a skin. It can be diluted from heavy cream to skim milk simply by adding water. It doesn’t break when heated (or when frozen and re-heated), and if it should get close to breaking, it can be brought back, whereas heavy cream can’t be restored. 

“The product is very forgiving,” Helinski says. “No one would even notice you’ve used a dairy alternative, and here you are improving the recipe quality while reducing waste and maximizing on space and food cost.”

The plant-based cooking creme was developed within a year’s time from extensive field research involving feedback from professional chefs, cooks, food and beverage directors and buyers, dieticians and others.

“We wanted to know what the biggest challenges were from foodservice operators throughout the country,” Tomlinson says. “Time and time again, we heard the same struggle—How can I manage through the dramatic increase in dietary restrictions that we’re seeing? The situation was forcing operators to carry a lot more ingredients, and that can get very expensive.”

“We took this challenge head-on, ideating solutions from a cross-functional team at Rich’s that included culinary, R&D and sales,” she adds. “Once we developed the plant-based cooking creme prototype, we kept taking it back to our foodservice contacts in the field until we got it right – that’s where ‘chef-inspired’ comes from.”