Vion to cut fat and waste with protein project

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Vion, Protein, Nutrition

Vion to cut fat and waste with protein project
A project that could at least halve the fat in some meat products as well as reducing waste has been announced by Vion in collaboration with NIZO food research.

The three-year study has two and a half years to run, but has already resulted in the launch of one finished product in Germany and another planned product launch later this year.

The UK would be one of the target markets for such products, said Vion research and development director Ronald Klont. "We are looking at UK supermarkets with product developers at the moment, but there are so many different types it's more difficult [than it is in some countries] to get a product to market."

The joint project focuses on the use of vegetable and animal proteins as fat replacers, conveying the added benefit of increasing the protein content of some products. The ingredients industry is showing great interest in upping the intake of collagen protein in particular among older people to combat muscle wastage and joint problems.

At least 40% of the proteins under consideration are derived from bones, blood and skin sourced from Vion's own waste streams. "We want to become more sustainable, so instead of just wasting product we can use it as a fat replacer," ​said Klont, who called it one of Vion's largest projects.

The firm also has a fresh plant protein that has enabled it to reduce fat in many of its products by as much as 30%, said Klont. "We are looking to do the same or to achieve a higher level with animal proteins."

Initial trials have delivered promising results, but one of the biggest hurdles is finding protein combinations and technical processes that will not result in products that are too dry or chewy. "If you replace even 2% of fat, proteins bind to each other and a spreadable product turns into a solid structure,"​ said Klont. "You have to put proteins back that don't affect the structure or the taste."

The project would best suit minced meat products, such as hamburger patties, meatballs, sausages or sliced meats, he added. Vion's aim was to deliver food with 3050% less fat and no E-numbers or allergens. "We also make a vegetarian burger, but we hadn't been able to make it taste like a hamburger. With this approach we know how to do that. These proteins should mimic the effect of fat, its juiciness, flavour and taste."

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood

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