Boston-based food tech company Motif FoodWorks is carrying out groundbreaking research and methods to develop better tasting and more nutritional plant-based food such as vegan cheese and meat.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet is not only proven to be significantly healthier for us, but it is more sustainable for the plant. For many people moving to a plant-based diet isn’t always the easiest option due to their perceptions and tastes of vegan meat and dairy alternatives.
Motif FoodWorks is dedicated to creating new plant-based ingredients to improve the taste and quality of vegan cheese and meat so there is more acceptance for vegan food.
In Motif FoodWorks recent collaboration with Professor Alejandro Marangoni, founder of Coasun Inc. and the University of Guelph Ontario, the food tech company has gained exclusive access to two technologies with the potential to transform consumer experience with plant-based meat and cheese.
The new technologies will improve the main issues for many plant-based alternatives, improvements such as the melt and stretch in plant-based cheese, and creating healthier fat that marbles in plant-based meat.
Prolamins molecules store protein in grain plants such as wheat, corn, and oats. Prolmains have a high proline amino acid content.
Working with the University of Guelph, Motif has found that this plant protein can be used in plant-based cheese, allowing the cheese to have similar qualities to dairy cheese such as bubbling, stretching, and melting.
Dr. Mike Leonard, Motif Chief Technology officer, told Food Navigator-USA “Right now, a lot of vegan cheese behaves more like an oily starch paste rather than actual cheese.
“So we’re looking at how we can bring plant-based ingredients to the table that can form fibers and enable these vegan cheeses to melt, stretch and have the elongation properties of dairy cheese.”
Extrudable fat technology
Acquired for Coasun, Extrudable fat technology is a unique oleogel technology that replicates animal fats, allowing more authentic fat textures, such as marbling, in plant-based meats.
Currently, coconut oil is typically used for the fat in most plant-based burger formulas. Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, Dr. Mike Leonard shared that “one of the top reasons people choose plant-based foods is because they think that they are healthier, so our job is to help these foods deliver on that promise.”
Leonard continues: “When you cook plant-based burgers with coconut oil, you have to be very careful because the fat can leak out and will not be retained in the burger.
“We’re interested in tools that can help improves the way fats perform in those matrixe.”
“There is growing concern in the world, so we need to find ways to be more sustainable”
Improving the taste and texture of plant-based cheese has been an ongoing study for some time. The taste of vegan cheese is something that many non-vegans struggling to enjoy.
University Professor and researcher Marié Cárdenas is also setting out to ‘radically improve’ vegan cheese, by creating the perfect non-dairy milk.
“I realise that there is a growing concern in the world, so we need to find ways to be more sustainable. Cheese is a very important food — it certainly is on my table — and if you want to eat the vegan cheese which is currently available in the supermarkets, you might be disappointed.”
By improving the taste of vegan cheese and meat, Motif FoodWorks is aiming to attract a greater number of people to switch to a plant-based diet.
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