Dr Julien Lonchamp and Catriona Liddle
Dr Julien Lonchamp, (a Lecturer in Biochemistry with Food Sciences) was awarded an Innovation Fellowship in 2018/19 to Develop a novel vegan texturing ingredient for palm oil replacement in selected bakery applications with Catriona Liddle at the Scottish Centre for Food Development and Innovation. In 2020/21, they were awarded an Innovation Fellowship to Screen an underexploited soy industry co-product as novel food ingredient. In 2021/2022 they were successful in securing further innovation funding to carry out a pilot study on mycoprotein as novel fat reduction strategy for the food industry
In 2022/23 they have received further funding to continue their project work on palm oil replacement and mycoprotein as a novel fat reduction strategy.
Screening of an underexploited soy industry co-product as novel food ingredient
Dr Julien Lonchamp was granted a QMU Innovation Fellowship to assess the feasibility of developing SSSR (Soy Sauce Squeezing Residue), an underexploited co-product of soy sauce production, as a novel ingredient for the food industry.
Soy sauce manufacturing produces 110,000 tonnes of this co-product worldwide every year following mechanical pressing of fermented soybeans to extract the liquid. Due to its specific sensory profile, high salt content and residual oil content, unprocessed SSSR is currently a low-value stream sold as animal feed, fertiliser, soil conditioner and papermaking material.
The project will assess the feasibility of a number of SSSR processing methods and the suitability of processed SSSR in a range of food applications with potential health benefits.
Developing a novel vegan texturing ingredient for palm oil replacement in selected bakery applications
Palm Oil has become the main fat-based texturizer across the food industry because of its unique lipid composition which allows it to be solid at room temperature, and because of its low production costs. The devastating impact of palm cultivation on the environment has been well documented and the industry is looking for sustainable alternatives. However, so far, no suitable replacer has been found to mimic the outstanding functional properties of palm oil.
As part of this project, Dr Lonchamp and his colleague, Catriona Liddle, optimised the composition and processing of a novel palm fat replacement ingredient mix in a standard cake recipe which displayed a comparable overall sensory profile to a palm fat formulation.
"The Innovation Fellowship allowed us to further develop the formulation of a prototype of novel palm fat replacement, to assess its processing on a larger scale using the SCFDI high-pressure homogeniser and to test its properties in a standard cake recipe."
Dr Lonchamp and Catriona Liddle are currently using the results of this study to develop a research proposal aimed at developing novel sustainable palm- and fat-free applications and to build a collaborative industry-academic consortium to secure further funding.
Pilot study on mycoprotein as novel fat reduction strategy for the food industry.
This proposal aims to carry out a pilot study assessing a novel sustainable strategy for reducing fat in emulsion-based food products while maintaining their creaminess and satiating properties. The project will assess mycoprotein as the first potential vegan fat replacer of fungal origin.
A previous study published by Julien Lonchamp in collaboration with Quorn Foods and Heriot-Watt University highlighted the potential of small mycoprotein fragments obtained by ultrasound processing to reduce the size of oil droplets in food emulsions. (https://eresearch.qmu.ac.uk/handle/20.500.12289/10460).
Such reduction in oil droplet size has previously been shown in the literature to increase creaminess and satiety, allowing to lowering the fat content while maintaining the sensory properties. However this strategy currently relies on unsustainable emulsifiers (palm fat glycerides or animal-based proteins).
In this context the development of mycoprotein as a sustainable vegan fat replacer is a potential opportunity to boost the reduced-fat sector with a view to addressing the dramatic rise of obesity, cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes.
This pilot study aims to screen a range of size-reduction processes, with the resulting mycoprotein fragments characterised for their oil-lowering properties in a novel range of products.
Development of a novel mycoprotein-based fat replacer prototype for the food industry
The aim of this body of work is to develop a novel sustainable strategy for reducing fat in emulsion-based products while maintaining their creaminess and satiating properties by using novel mycoprotein (the biomass produced during the Quorn fermentation) ingredients.
This project follows on from our 2021-22 Innovation Fellowship project “Pilot study on mycoprotein as novel fat reduction strategy for the food industry”, during which we screened a number of processing methods on the different Quorn fermentation streams, with the resulting mycoprotein ingredients characterised for their emulsifying and oil-lowering properties at lab scale.
The goal of the 2022-23 Innovation Fellowship is to develop a prototype of the novel mycoprotein ingredient and demonstrate proof-of-concept of the strategy by assessing the ingredient in a range of oil-reduced formulations and characterising their structure, composition and sensory properties.
Exploration of commercial opportunities for a novel retail palm oil replacer (PALM-ALT
The team, Dr Julien Lonchamp and Catriona Liddle, received previous funding, initially from a University Fellowship in 20/21, then via Innovate UK. The outcome of these projects was the creation and assessment of a novel palm fat replacer that provided benefits in both sustainability and nutritional profile when compared with palm shortening (a commonly used ingredient within the UK bakery sector)
These projects documented the successful replacement of palm shortening in a number of bakery applications including bread, biscuits, cookies, oatcakes and cake. The resulting ingredient represents a reduction of 25% total fat and a reduction of 88% saturated fat when compared with commercially available palm shortening, making it an ingredient of interest when considering substitution of palm shortening in bakery products. When assessed sensorily, there was found to be no significant difference in organoleptic profile on taste, texture and aroma, and was significantly superior when compared with products using vegetable oil only This outcome could be of significant interest to the baking industry, who have been tasked with the challenge of improving the nutritional profile of their products to combat issues such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, whilst not detrimentally affecting eating quality. Additionally, from a sustainability perspective, the novel ingredient created by the project represents a two thirds reduction in carbon emissions when compared to palm oil.
This Innovation Fellowship project aims to explore a number of commercial opportunities. We propose to target UK retailers to get their support for the next stage of commercialisation via endorsement of the concept to their manufacturing supplier base, assisting in their sustainability, environmental, nutritional and ethical goals.
Food manufacturers are under increasing pressure to improve the nutritional profile of their products via government initiatives such as the forthcoming HFSS regulations (which prohibits the promotion of products which are high in fat, sugar and salt) and also the onset of Front Of Pack Nutritional Labelling changes expected within the next calendar year.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of sustainability issues and the impact on the food we eat.
This project addresses these issues with a patent pending, clean label product which is plant based, and made from UK & European sourced ingredients.