Call for partners: Gelling and emulsifying fractions from plant residues

Wageningen Food & Biobased Research plans to start a public-private partnership in the TKI Agri&Food. The focus will be on food grade functional fractions from plant side streams, hereby allowing for less processing and for milder conditions while increasing valorisation.

Food security is considered to be one of the biggest issues humanity faces. The global demand for food has been increasing and will be increasing over the next decades. However, many losses still occur in the agri-food chain. Agricultural side streams, currently commonly discarded or in best case used as feed, offer opportunities for increased valorisation.

Food products often contain highly refined ingredients. The use of highly refined ingredients has advantages, such as constant quality, easy handling and global sourcing. However, their production can require harsh and intensive processing. In addition, consumers generally associate these highly refined ingredients with unnatural. Our approach has a focus on functionality of food grade fractions to be used as ingredients rather than on highly refined pure components, which can allow for less processing and the use of milder conditions.

Functionality driven fractionation

Envisaged agri-food chains that can be targeted are: 1) Oil seed meals such as press cakes from rapeseed or grape seeds. These can be processed using dry techniques like milling, sieving, air classification, and electrostatic separation. 2) Green residues such as faba bean pods, stevia residues, or tomato/potato leaves. These can be processed with wet techniques like pressing, extraction and membrane filtration.

The envisaged functional fractions are to be rich in protein or rich in fibre. The protein rich fractions may be used as thickener or gelling agent in dairy and meat analogues, cheese, yoghurt, bakery, etc. The fibre rich fractions are to be used for emulsification and stabilisation in sauces, mayonnaise, cosmetics and nutraceuticals.

Looking for partners

We are looking for a range of partners that represent an entire Agri-food chain, from crop growing companies, via ingredient processers, to end users like food, nutraceutical or cosmetics companies. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can provide direction to the research activities as outlined in the project proposal which will be submitted in order to get a subsidy grant.