Hybrid food products, which blend plant and animal ingredients, appeal to consumers looking to reduce their meat or dairy intake while still enjoying products that closely resemble animal-based originals. This is not a straightforward task. We established an international research consortium to develop hybrid dairy products that combine the benefits of plant and animal ingredients, such as proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Sustainability and Taste Improvement

Most plant-based products still face taste issues. Plant-based proteins often have undesirable aftertastes, like bean or grass flavors, which are not appealing in products like yogurt or milk. By mixing plant and animal components in hybrid dairy products, it’s possible to achieve positive taste and texture elements, such as a ‘cheesy’ taste or a ‘creamy’ mouthfeel. This approach can attract a broader group of flexitarian consumers interested in a more sustainable diet.

Overcoming Challenges

Simply blending plant and dairy ingredients will not eliminate negative flavors or textures of plant components. Additionally, texture issues need to be addressed. Processing and product design are crucial for unlocking the potential of hybrid products. This involves a holistic development process, from selecting ingredient combinations to specifying and adjusting processing conditions. Fermentation can also enhance the product.

Focus on Food Security

Food security is a critical consideration. Understanding how ingredient combinations impact the production process and potential microbial contamination is essential. While there is a good understanding of food security issues related to dairy, more knowledge is needed about plant ingredients, which have a greater diversity of contaminating microorganisms.

Do you want more information about this consortium? Please, contact Else de Hoog!

Any questions?

Els de Hoog is happy to answer all your questions.

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