​ Inauguration Kasper Hettinga: ‘Navigating the future of dairy’

February 16, 2024

Professor of Dairy Processing & Functionality, Kasper Hettinga, gave his inaugural speech ‘Navigating the future of dairy’ on breast feeding and infant formula this Thursday. Hettinga discussed his fascination with this subject and the future he sees in this domain.

About the research

Kasper Hettinga
Kasper Hettinga

After more than a century of research, breastfeeding still has a wide range of often ill-understood benefits compared to infant formula. Understanding the functionality of breast milk components is, therefore, important. This does not only require research into breast milk composition, but also a better understanding of its digestion. Translating this to improved infant formula requires research into the effect of industrial processing on the composition of animal milk, how this impacts its digestion, and what the ensuing physiological consequences are. At the same time, due to the environmental impact of dairy production, there is an increasing interest in alternatives to animal-based dairy products.

Two possible routes towards dealing with this are plant-based dairy alternatives or dairy products based on ingredients made with precision fermentation. Both these options have their own challenges before they can be implemented in practice, making them fascinating research topics for Hettinga to further explore.