Natural proteins to replace fats

In the coming years food producer VION Food Group and research company NIZO will be collaborating intensively to develop natural protein-based ingredients to replace fats in their products.

The excessive consumption of fats in the Netherlands remains a matter of concern and contributes directly to the increase of ‘prosperity illnesses’ like obesity, type II diabetes and heart and vascular disease. Proteins contain about half the calories of fats and are more satisfying. This makes proteins an excellent replacement for fats in composite products that fit within a healthier eating pattern.

At the start of this year a team of experts from VION Food Group and NIZO food research therefore started a 3-year project aimed at developing new meat products with reduced amounts of fat. However, replacing fats with proteins is not a simple matter, as fat contributes to the overall taste of products. A higher level of proteins can also result in products that feel dry and chewy in the mouth. Consumers will only accept low-fat products if they taste good.

In this project, which is co-financed by Food & Nutrition Delta, natural proteins derived from vegetable and animal origins are used to replace fats. As part of a composite product fat has a number of functions, namely providing taste, structure, mouth feel and stability. The proteins have to take over all these functions so that new and tasty products can be created.
An important part of the project is the development of processes that give the protein-based ingredients the desired functionality. It is the intention of the partners to use these protein-based ingredients to develop surprising and delicious products with a low fat content. The plan is for these products to be available in supermarkets before the project is finished.