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Dutch food tech and ingredient developer Fooditive has revealed another success story. Following on from upcycled natural sweetener, it has launched a vegan-friendly casein protein made from peas. The animal-free casein powder has numerous potential applications and are suitable for all conventional dairy products across the board.
Casein is one of the primary proteins in milk. It contributes to the taste and texture but also the functionality. The breakthrough came thanks to both precision fermentation and genetically modified organism (GMO) technology. Acknowledgment of consumer hesitancy towards GMO products is a key issue for Fooditive.
“We understand that the production of food-grade genetically modified organisms is subject to constant debate due to the combination of negative consumer perceptions and the distrust of conglomerates. Our aim is to change that by showing the food industry and the end consumers an innovative approach to create sustainable products”, said Niki Karatza, Product Manager of Fooditive.
Delivering on the demand for dairy
Fooditive has developed vegan casein as a failsafe method for meeting future dairy demand. It has a second motivation, to remove the need for factory farming. This will also support a bid to take common allergen lactose out of the equation and eradicate hormones and antibiotics from finished products.
“Making healthy and affordable food for everyone means that we simply need to target every aspect of our diet, and animal-free products should definitely be a part of it,” said Moayad Abushokhedim, founder and CEO of Fooditive. “Delivering ingredients that have been produced sustainably is the main key to a long-lasting future that can support the growing human population.”
A period of investigation was needed in the initial stages of development, to understand conventional milk’s formulation. With that to hand, Fooditive used precision fermentation to replicate the molecular makeup. The result is a scaleable product suitable for use throughout the food industry. It is claimed to be the first vegan casein available for use by food developers.
Suitable for use in milk, yoghurts, cheese and more, the company revealed that a number of “big players” in the dairy industry have shown interest in trialling the casein. “We have been delighted that pioneers and experts in the dairy industry are interested in our vegan casein. We are very much looking forward to seeing the results in all the different applications and work towards revolutionising the food industry together”, said Abushokhedim.
The product is scheduled for market debut in 2022 Abushokhedim has not ruled out launching in other markets if the EU proves more tricky due to more restrictive GM regulation.
A race to the precision fermentation finish line
Fooditive joins a handful of companies across the globe that are using precision fermentation to push the boundaries for animal-free dairy. Marité Cárdenas is repchasing down the perfect formula, for use in vegan cheese. Based in Sweden, she is researching the capabilities of plant-based proteins that can retain the same nutritional value as animal casein. She claims that current vegan cheese is not made in a similar way to conventional products and therefore is not taste-comparable. Her work aims to change this.
Casein is not the only precision fermentation success story. Industry leader Perfect Day has commercialized its animal-free whey protein, which is now used in everything from ice cream to cream cheese to milk- in fact, the company recently announced a partnership with Starbucks Seattle.
Lead image courtesy of Fooditive