Production has started at the first plant to produce highly functional, clean-label potato proteins for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
The plant, situated next to Avebe's potato starch factory in Gasselternijveen in The Netherlands, is run by Solanic, a subsidiary of Avebe set up earlier this year.
The plant uses patent-protected mild separation technology instead of the traditional heat coagulation method to extract proteins from the starch factory's waste stream, said Solanic director of commerce Frank Goovaerts. "We currently have the capacity to produce 1,000t a year, but will increase that to 4,000t next year. We could do 10,000t from this site." If Solanic were to set up plants at all of Avebe's potato starch factories, it could produce 40,000t annually, said Goovaerts.
The energy savings from finding a better use for Avebe's waste products were considerable, he said. "Avebe alone consumes 0.6% of Holland's entire energy bill, and 30% of that is just to treat its waste stream. Ultimately, if we process all of its potato juice slurry, we could reduce the Dutch energy bill by 0.2%!"
The Gasselternijveen plant will produce proteins from November to March, with new capacity coming on-stream in August, said Goovaerts.
There were big opportunities to replace egg and dairy-based ingredients in yoghurts, spreads, meringues, sausages, paté, ice cream and sports drinks, said Goovaerts. "In an aerated dessert, you can use 1% potato protein instead of 2.5-4% milk proteins and get the same effect plus a cost saving.
"You can also replace whey or caseinate in a yoghurt with potato protein and improve its viscosity and smoothness, or use it to make an egg-free meringue or non-dairy Frankfurters or patés, which currently use caseinate for structural reasons such as water binding and texture. In paté, potato protein has far superior emulsifying properties and offers significantly enhanced flavour release."
The essential amino acids composition in potato protein was superior to other sources of vegetable protein such as peas, rice, soy and wheat, and comparable to that of animal-based proteins such as caseinate, claimed Goovaerts.