Protein transition

Plant-based alternative to yoghurt, without a beany aftertaste

Can you make a plant-based alternative to yoghurt with a neutral taste as well as a good texture? Thanks to the fava bean, you can! From this sustainably grown legume, Cosun Protein extracts Tendra: the protein isolate that ticks all the boxes. Celine Cantineau is an Application Technologist at Cosun Protein. She’s developing new applications with Tendra, for example for use in dairy alternatives. We spoke to Celine about her recipe, fermentation and the future of the fava bean in plant-based applications.
06 September 2023

A ’Fava-rite’ application with Tendra

“Many plant-based alternatives to yoghurt are now made with soy protein,” Celine explains. “A characteristic of this is the ‘beany’ taste of the proteins. Not really the experience you’re waiting for when eating yoghurt.” Celine and her team saw in Tendra an opportunity to develop a plant-based alternative to yoghurt that eliminated this ‘beany’ after-taste, and have been successful in their efforts. Celine: “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback from customers and test panels. Especially regarding the taste.”

Experimenting to get the best results

“When I started developing this plant-based alternative to yoghurt, this product was still relatively new for me,” Celine says. “This also meant I approached the challenge with an open mind. So, I was able to experiment more freely. I may have made around a hundred recipes.” Fermentation, the basis of developing yoghurt, is sometimes a ‘magic box’ with unexpected outcomes, especially when working with a new ingredient. Celine: “Every change you make in the process, from fermentation to the ratio of ingredients or the type of culture, affects the final product. By changing one ingredient, I accidentally made a product with a solid rubbery texture. Other times nothing happened at all.” The best choice Celine made during her experimentation phase was to go minimalistic. “At one point I started working really ‘clean’, with as few ingredients as possible. I was looking for the bacterial culture that fits our protein. And that led to the best result.”

Fermentation and fava protein: the perfect match

The success of the recipe is due to the fermentation process and the role of fava protein in it. Celine: “Tendra is able to build a good structure during the fermentation process, which makes for a creamy product. Not all plant-based protein isolates have this property.” Every protein has its own strengths: emulsifying power, foaming action, you name it. But there are few proteins that are this effective when it comes to fermentation. The combination of fava protein and the other properties of Tendra makes this a really good recipe.

Clean label proof

The minimalist approach to recipe development is in keeping with the clean label trend. “Clean label is a hot topic in the market,” Celine points out. “Our recipe shows that you can make a good plant-based product with few additives. The versatile effect of Tendra also ensures that you don’t have to use some of the additives.”

The future is plant-based

Celine sees plenty of opportunities for other applications for Tendra. In plant-based alternatives to milk, for example. Current alternatives are mostly based on ingredients that do not naturally contain much protein, such as coconut, oats and rice. Celine: “When replacing dairy, people sometimes forget the protein factor. If you want a full-fledged product that also offers a nutritional alternative to milk, then a product like Tendra is a suitable candidate.” New applications through fermentation also offer many opportunities according to Celine: “This property is really an eye opener for us and for many of our customers who are working with Tendra. I think much more is possible with Tendra: from a plant-based alternative to Gouda-style cheese, to applications in meat substitutes and baked goods. There are still plenty more possibilities to explore.”

Celine Cantineau
Our recipe shows that you can make a good plant-based product with few additives.”
Celine Cantineau
Application Technologist at Cosun Protein

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