AF-18057 | Replacing dairy with plant protein in cheese

Bert van Rees2019, Kernthema Gezond en Veilig, Project, TKI-projecten

Projecttitel: Replacing dairy with plant protein in cheese
Projectnummer: AF-18057
Missie: Kringlooplandbouw
MMIP: Eiwitvoorziening voor humane consumptie uit (nieuwe) plantaardige bronnen (A4)
Looptijd: 2019 – 2022
Budget publiek: € 600.000
Budget privaat: € 600.000
Projectleider: Fred van de Velde
Betrokken partijen: Daiya Foods, Fuji Oil, Has Hogeschool, Nizo food research, Royal Bel Leerdammer


To increase sustainability of food supply and to enable the production of sufficient food for the growing world population there is a move towards increased use of plant proteins. This shift comes with a number of technological challenges, as current food production processes are mostly optimized for animal proteins. A lack of basic knowledge on the use of plant proteins limits product  development in the field, leading to development by trial-and-error approaches. Due to the long tradition in dairy fermentation there is extensive knowledge on technological aspects of dairy proteins as well as on product properties brought about by the fermentation process. While the replacement of dairy proteins by plant proteins seems an attractive proposition, it is known that aspects, such as product texture (for example firmness, chewability, stringiness) and flavor are often not satisfactory when introducing plant proteins.
It is the aim of this project to provide a general framework to improve flavour and texture properties of plant protein based cheese analogs through the use of fermentation-, protein- and processing-technology. We will develop a prototype plant/dairy hybrid-type cheese and a 100% plant-based cheese analog. The final prototype products should have good sensory and processing properties and should be producible with a smaller total carbon footprint than the currently available cheeses. To achieve this goal bacterial strains with specific functionalities when grown on plant proteins will be identified and used either in combination or as single strains. Besides that enzymatic and physical protein modifications and processing optimizations will explored. The generic character of the gained information will allow the industrial partners of this project to develop hybrid and vegan cheese products.

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