GLOBAL- The continued rise of plant-based foods and demand for more sustainable food is putting pressure on food manufacturers to create best tasting foods that are beneficial for the gut and environment friendly.

The demand for these products ultimately lands on the ingredient suppliers’ desk and they have been working round the clock to create ingredients for better quality plant-based foods or more sustainable alternatives to controversial ingredients like palm oil.

In this week review, we review some of the top ingredient propositions that are coming to market to help food manufacturers in their food formulations and new product developments.

Neutral tasting white Chlorella for high protein foods

To start us off is highly nutritious, neutral tasting white chlorella from Danish food tech company Aliga Microalgae.

The food ingredient is made from algae which is normally known for its rich nutrition profile which includes proteins, vitamins, minerals, fibres and amino- and fatty acids.

Chlorella includes vitamins D and B12 that aren’t present in other plant-derived food sources and boasts a higher amont of folate and iron than other plant-based ingredients, Aliga Microalgae reveals.

Made using heterotrophic fermentation, white Chlorella contains circa 45-50% protein with a complete amino acid profile. It has around 15% fibre, is naturally rich in vitamins and minerals as well as it is low in carbohydrates and fatty acids.

“It works very well in analogue meat and seafood products as well as in vegan cheese, pasta and several different bakery applications,” revealed Co-Founder and Sales Director David Erlandsson.

 “In cold cuts, our white Chlorella is successfully mixed with different alginates and coloured and flavoured to mimic different type of seafood analogues. We also have it used in vegan cheese as a protein-rich ingredient, both soft- and hard cheeses.”

Mimicking the true taste of milk using flavors

One major drawback of plant-based alternatives is taste. When asked what they wish for from non-dairy milks, 32% of UK respondents said a fresh dairy taste, 31% of respondents in Germany said a fresh milk taste, and 26% of the French consumers surveyed said a creamier taste.

This study informed flavoring specialist Synergy Flavours to introduce two new flavors to help plant-based milk producers achieve parity with milk in terms of taste.

The flavors are fresh milk and UHT milk, both of which are expected to provide the ‘dairy-type profile that consumers increasingly expect in plant-based milks, adding creaminess, indulgence and sweetness across a range of bases, including soy, oat and pea’, said the company.

Using fermentation to make palm oil alternative

As palm oil becomes more controversial due to its association with deforestation, biodiversity loss, and climate change British start-up Clean Food Group is developing a bio-equivalent cultivated alternative.

 

The start-up’s Clean Palm Oil is a bio-equivalent to the real thing in terms of nutritional and fatty acid makeup.

“It is neutral in taste and colour – as with palm oil from palm, its natural colour is orange/red but can be made colourless by a simple refining process,” explained Clean Food Group CEO Alex Neves. “It performs the same way as palm oil.”

Upon commercialization, the ingredient could pave way for a more sustainable alternative to palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil in the world commanding a market valued at US$50.6bn and is expected to reach US$65.5bn by 2027.

Creating fat from thin air

Competing for the same palm oil market is Sweden’s Green-On. The startup is developing a unique technology to produce food ingredients, especially fat for the food and feed industry.

According to the Swedish B2B food technology company, its technology can mimic and replace tropical fats such as palm and coconut oil as well as animal fat, in what it calls a truly sustainable way.

Instead of fermentation, Green-On is going for air. Its process involves combining carbon dioxide from air with water using renewable or fossil-free electricity to produce the same bioidentical saturated fat molecule (triglyceride) found in tropical plants such as coconut, palm oil and animal sources.

Its saturated fat can be custom made for the specific application and can be used in a variety of processed food products such as cheese, baked goods, ice-cream, chocolate and shortening. It can also provide mono- and diglycerides that are used as emulsifiers in a variety of food products.

The company recently announced two new partners that will invest undisclosed amounts in the company: Sweden-based vegetable oils and fat producer AAK and the Stockholm-based early start-up fund Norrsken Impact Accelerator.

These investments will allow the Gothenburg-based company to take a big step towards commercialization and scaling, it said.

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