Innovative fermentative processes to produce vegan and vegetarian food
An Italian research centre has developed successful protocols to obtain a fermented product through nut fermentation. The new solution can comply with the increasing demand for vegan and vegetarian foods. They are looking for food industries interested in a technical cooperation or manufacturing agreement or in a services agreement to share know how for new products. They are also looking for research laboratories interested to take part in the project through a research cooperation agreement.
The Italian research centre is looking for industrial partners working in the production of fermented foods, also from vegetable raw materials. The collaboration could be a manufacturing agreement or a technical cooperation agreement in which the protocols and procedures will be adapted to the process and the demand of the client. The research center is also able to offer to food companies its know how to develop new products or processes under a services agreement. They would also like to cooperate with research laboratories interested to take part to projects within the framework of a research cooperation agreement.
The food microbiology team of an industrial research and technology transfer center based in Italy has developed successful protocols to obtain a fermented product through nut fermentation. The know-how offered originates from the request to produce a fermented nut based vegan food on industrial scale. The aim was to increase the value added of the raw material and to create a new product, commonly produced at artisanal level, to fulfil the increasing market demand for these foods, and enhancing the innovation and competitiveness of the interested food companies. The first step of the research activity focused on the evaluation of the microbiota during the preparation of a home-made cheese-like product, obtained through spontaneous fermentation, in order to define the microbial consortia able to colonize this matrix. Then, some lactic acid bacteria isolates from the home-made vegan product were used to set up a pilot-scale fermentation. The optimization of this procedure included a strict control of pH decrease during fermentation and the final product was monitored also during storage to guarantee its safety and quality. The process was validated at industrial level. The Italian research centre is looking for food industries that are interested in developing new products and gain new markets share with vegan and vegetarian products. Indeed similar starter cultures can be tested also in other food matrices to investigate their performances and to evaluate their technological features. The cooperation envisaged is a technical cooperation or manufacturing agreement. The reasearch center is also interested in offering its know how and expertise to food companies to develop new process or products through a services agreement. They are also interested to collaborate with other research centre through a research cooperation agreement to develop new strategies including the set up and optimization of fermentative processes.
Advantages and innovations
The guided fermentation optimized by the microbiology research team leads to a safe product, while often these food products are obtained at homemade or artisanal level, without strict control or hygienic standards. The use of selected microbial starter cultures can give peculiar organoleptic features to fermented foods, obtaining different final products starting from the same raw material. The use of selected bioprotective cultures that are able to avoid or reduce pathogens and spoilage microflora can improve the safety and shelf-life of final products. This solution can be a key factor to reach international markets. The expertise of the microbiology research team can be useful for food industries to set up and optimize new products and processes. The protocol optimized for a first product released on the market, the fermented nuts, can be applied also to other raw materials, to increase product differentiation and competitiveness of food industry.
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