Yeast ingredients show ‘great potential’ as alternative proteins in the food industry, project reveals

By Oliver Morrison

- Last updated on GMT

Image: Getty/esemelwe
Image: Getty/esemelwe

Related tags Yeast Fermentation

More than 70% of German and Swedish consumers liked appetizer spreads made with fermented yeast ingredients, claims the NextGen Proteins project.

Fermentation start-up Arbiom company uses side streams from the forestry industry to produce a protein ingredient that can be used in human nutrition. In this way, Arbiom claims it is not only increasing the efficiency of how resources traditionally used in the food sector are leveraged, but effectively pushing the limits of what we would consider a food input.

The French company, in partnership with of the European NextGenProteins consortium, is now announcing positive consumer feedback on foods developed with its yeast-based protein ingredient called SylPro, a protein-rich ingredient produced from wood via fermentation, which is approved as a novel food in the EU. The company claims SylPro is an excellent protein source thanks to its balanced amino acid profile and high digestibility, and suitable for a large variety of products such as meat analogs, cheese analogs, spreads and sauces, and specialized nutrition including elderly and sports nutrition.

The NextGen Proteins project aims to test and validate the use of various protein sources derived from insects, fungus, yeast and algae in food and feed. Within the project, meat analogs, specialized nutrition products, spreads, baked goods, extruded snacks, and ready meals were developed by the partners. The perception of SylPro as an alternative protein and level of appreciation of the newly developed products was assessed by European consumer panels in Germany, Sweden and the UK.

German company, Biozoon, which makes powder-based mixes for elderly and lifestyle nutrition, developed powder-based spreads with SylPro, as a complementary protein to pea. The addition of SylPro in spreads formulas results in a “high in protein” claim; obtained for foods with a protein content above 20%.

These spreads are mainly targeting the active population (25-45 years) and are also suitable for the elderly in terms of mouthfeel and texture, described as soft and creamy by consumers, the project explained. Overall, more than three quarters of those surveyed in Sweden and Germany, reported a positive experience with the SylPro-based spreads.

Within the project, Arbiom, leading seafood company Mowi, seafood processor Aquascot and UK supermarket Waitrose joined forces to develop a SylPro-based salmon value chain from raw material supply (SylPro from Arbiom) feed formulation and production (Mowi), salmon farming and processing (Aquascot), and consumer testing (Waitrose). Atlantic Salmon were farmed in Scotland at Aquascot with various diets including some with SylPro inclusion. 

Once processed, 80 UK Waitrose customers were invited to test the sensory qualities of the salmon filets fed with the different diets. Two thirds of the panel indicated they would likely buy salmon filets fed with the SylPro-based diet. Results show that the inclusion of SylPro in aquafeeds for Atlantic Salmon enhances the strength of flavors of filets.

In addition, inclusion of SylPro in aquafeeds does not significantly change the appearance, odor, or aftertaste on both raw and cooked salmon. Moreover, consumers prefered the mouthfeel of salmons fed with SylPro compared to standard salmon. Fewer respondents were disinclined to purchase salmon fed SylPro diet than standard salmon. It is then possible to appeal to more consumers to buy salmons filets when there are fed a SylPro based diet.

“European consumer perception for yeast-based protein foods within the project is very positive, from fish feed incorporation to the inclusion of SylPro in final food products,”​ a spokesperson from the NextGen Proteins told FoodNavigator. “This predicts a great future forecast for the alternative protein market as more and more people are interested in sustainable foods.”

It also pointed to another study carried out by the Protéines France association in 2022 which showed that one quarter of French people changed their food habits to include non-animal sources of proteins in their diets.

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