May 10 2023 – The EGGcited consortium, coordinated by NIZO, has industrialised the production of new cellular protein and fibre ingredients derived from brewer’s spent yeast, a by-product of the brewing industry. The functional ingredients can be used to replace egg and dairy proteins and E-numbers in various food applications. Following this successful scale-up, revyve’s process is being transferred to full-scale continuous production.
It is widely recognized that global food supply chains need to become more sustainable. Society as a whole needs to cut carbon emissions to combat climate change and optimize the use of increasingly scarce resources such as farmland and water, while feeding rapidly growing populations. Alternative (i.e. non-animal) protein sources such as cellular proteins have potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of food production. This reduction could be amplified by using biomass and side streams from various industries to create food stuffs. This also brings the additional benefit of reducing the use of valuable farmland and raw materials, and allows companies to generate revenue from what would otherwise be waste material.
The EGGcited project was established in 2021 to industrialise processes for extracting new ingredients from used yeast from brewing that is no longer suitable for fermentation – brewer’s spent yeast. During the project, the extraction process, developed by revyve (previously called FUMI Ingredients) – a spin-out from Wageningen University – was upscaled to a semi-industrial level capable of producing hundreds of kilogrammes of ingredients per batch. This upscaling was carried out at the NIZO pilot production facility in Ede, the Netherlands.
The extraction uses mild processing that minimises the use of heat treatments. This ensures the products obtained have much better functionality, but also has possible implications for food safety. Hence, identifying and addressing potential food safety issues to ensure a reliable, stable and safe product was an integral part of the scale-up activities.
The output of the process is a cellular protein that can replace animal proteins such as egg white and dairy proteins, as well as E-numbers such as methylcellulose or calcium diphosphate in food applications. Additionally, the process yields a protein and fibre ingredient that helps to improve the taste and texture of meat analogues produced through high moisture extrusion. Consortium members Ruitenberg Ingredients and revyve have successfully used the ingredients in meat analogues, bakery and dairy products to validate the functionality and sensory performance of the ingredients in a wide variety of food applications.
“We believe that upcycling brewer’s spent yeast can deliver food that is good to eat and good for the planet. Building on our innovative extraction technology and NIZO’s unique capabilities in process development and upscaling, the EGGcited project has delivered new ingredients with the right combination of functionalities to enable food products with the perfect texture that are clean label, cruelty-free and highly sustainable,” says Cedric Verstraeten, CEO at revyve.
Following the success of the scale-up project in the EGGcited consortium, the process is being transferred to full-scale production and revyve’s ingredients will be commercially available by the end of 2023.
Note: The EGGcited consortium is financially supported by Operationeel Programma Oost-Nederland (Operational Program Eastern Netherlands), a joint program of the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland, the city networks Zwolle, Kampen, Apeldoorn, Deventer, Zutphen, and Arnhem-Nijmegen, and the regional networks in Twente and The Valley. The program covers activities that are co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.