Spanish food tech startup Väcka, says it filed a patent application for the first-to-market dairy-free cheese made from melon seeds.
Forget soy, coconut, and cashew — the newest trend in dairy-free cheese is…melon seed? Barcelona-based startup Väcka is betting on it. The company says its cheese is made from a combination of melon seeds and olive oil for a unique and creamy cheese that’s patent-worthy. It filed a U.S. patent application last December, covering its design, ingredients, and manufacturing process.
More sustainable than dairy: melon seeds
According to Väcka, its new Mözza and Pumpkin Chxddar cheese varieties are the only two products made from fermented melon seeds and olive oil, with the tech moving to its other varieties, Vrie and Filä. The fermented melon seed replaces fermented almond milk. The use of melon seeds is a move the company calls a “disruptive innovation” aimed at improving both the taste and sustainability of dairy-free cheese. U.S. based Miyoko’s has also teased a dairy-free cheese made from melon seeds.
“We conducted a Life Cycle Analysis, where we researched various seeds and the melon seeds stood out for their nutritional value and properties in terms of aroma and taste,” Ana Luz Sanz, co-founder and CEO of Väcka, said in a statement.
Väcka says the new cheese reduces water usage by more than 99 percent, land use by more than 98 percent, and CO2 emissions by more than 91 percent. On the health front, the Mözza cheese is more than 73 percent lower in saturated fats than conventional cheese.
A healthier cheese
Luz Sanz says the company has also added ingredients of high nutritional value “such as oats and beans, and calcium supplements,” which she says is a product that guarantees a 3.3 increase “in the melted area, giving it greater elasticity and versatility in the preparation of tasty dishes”, she says.
Melon seeds are also high in linoleic acid, which benefits the nervous system, immune system, and supports healthy cardiovascular function.
The other hero ingredient, olive oil, also offers numerous benefits when compared to coconut oil, which is commonly added to dairy-free cheese for its melting properties. But coconut oil is high in saturated fat; olive oil is about 90 percent lower in saturated fat than coconut oil.
“In the laboratory, we do constant research and development work to improve both the appearance of the products and the performance of the ingredients used in their production, and on the environmental impact of the production process,” said Maxime Boniface, Väcka’s CTO.
The company is now gearing up for expansion, eyeing cheese-loving France as a result of winning the French supermarket chain Carrefour’s Plant-Based competition. It’s also expanding across Germany, which leads the E.U. in cheese consumption.