Bel Group has announced a new strategic collaboration with US-based cultured protein start-up Superbrewed Foods.
The French company, which is behind cheese brands like Babybel, The Laughing Cow and Boursin, will utilise Superbrewed’s biomass fermentation expertise to develop a new range of products which deliver “functionally, environmentally and nutritionally”.
Superbrewed’s Postbiotic Cultured Protein is made through the anaerobic fermentation of certain microflora found in nature, which converts plant fibres.
Postbiotics are helpful chemicals produced by the microbes in our gut. They differ from prebiotics and probiotics – the former is the nutrients our stomach can’t break down which provide food for our gut microbes, and the latter refers to live microbes which can populate the gut and confer health benefits.
Superbrewed’s microflora can be found in the human gut, but as the company found through its research, it is more plentiful in herbivorous animals. Superbrewed isolated and extracted its initial microbes from the litter of a healthy poultry flock.
The microflora self-propagates in the start-up’s fermenting machines with no animal inputs. As such, Superbrewed classes the ingredient as an animal-free alternative protein source.
The company’s Postbiotic Cultured Protein is nutrient-rich, containing all nine essential amino acids while also being free from any known allergens.
Beyond amino acids, a 30 gram serving meets the US Food and Drug Administration’s requirements for being a ‘good source’ of five B-vitamins, including a full day’s supply of B-12, as well as six essential minerals like iron, phosphorus and magnesium.
The protein will be ready to ship from Superbrewed Food’s Delaware facility in the first half of 2023.
According to Bel Group, the ingredient will be leveraged for both its dairy and plant-based cheese products. The company launched its first plant-based Babybel at the beginning of 2022.
Bel Group Research and Application Director Anne Pitkowski said: “We are accelerating on biomass fermentation at the R&D level for its environmental, nutritional and accessibility benefits, without compromising on taste and pleasure.
“Thus, we are very happy to work hand-in-hand with best-in-class start-up Superbrewed Food and to be able to offer promising product innovations to consumers.”
Superbrewed Food CEO Bryan Tracy, PhD, added: “We’re honoured to partner with Bel Group to lead the industry in the application of highly scalable alternative proteins for cheese.
“Given the global reach of their brands and inclusive ‘open collaboration’ model, they are ideal partners for Superbrewed.”
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