Traditionally used to improve food functionalities such as preservation, taste and texture, novel fermentation solutions are enjoying the limelight with regards to expanding market applicability and applications. New approaches are showcased by the symposium covering this topic at the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) virtual event, SHIFT20. Fermentation explorations are indeed making a disruptive comeback, although finding the most optimal strategy remains a predominant challenge for formulators, the specialists note.
Joost Blankestijn, Program Manager at the Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, leads the panel of speakers at the SHIFT20 symposium entitled 239: Unlocking Fermentation Technology for a Sustainable, Healthy and Clean Future.
He tells FoodIngredientsFirst: “We think that the most notable trends in the fermented food space is in the plant-based domain. The application of fermentation for improvement of plant-based alternative meat [in terms of] nutrition, texture and flavor. Furthermore innovation within the plant-based dairy alternatives will continue to trend. Moreover, new fermented beverages will also continue to be an important category.”
“We’ve seen kombucha and kefir water go mainstream on both sides of the Atlantic and more innovation is expected within these products. For technical ingredient functionalities, natural flavoring food from fermentation and texturizing fermented ingredients will start to trend within the coming years. Lastly, natural preservatives obtained from fermentation of spices and herbs will continue to evolve rapidly,” he details.
Overall, the unique combinatorial approach coupled with the high throughput screening of the ferments to rapidly screen specific ingredient technical functionalities or its use for direct end-product development will be most useful, Blankestijn highlights. “This [will be showcased in a] talk given by Jerome Diaz from Wageningen UR. In addition the talk on the high throughput screening for specific functionalities (Paulo de Boer) will also be interesting from the analytical measurement point of view. For those interested in high tech tools, Carsten Mang will focus his talk on robotic technologies that makes combinatorial approaches possible for fermentation. Those looking for new applications of ferments, Andrew Lee (Kalsec), presents an overview of natural clean label natural preservatives from the fermentation of spices and herbs.”
Presenting at the online symposium, Dr. Jerome Diaz, Wageningen University and Research, remarks, “Traditionally, fermentation as a means of improving food quality has been the basis for many of the foods we enjoy today. Examples of such food products include beer, wine, cheese, sausages, sauerkraut, among many others. Over the years, increased understanding of microorganisms and the unique functionalities they bring to food allowed the use of fermentation for the production of specialty ingredients.”
In his talk as part of the symposium, Dr. Diaz highlights the applicability of the culinary expertise of Denmark-based Noma, ranked among the world’s best restaurants, in the F&B arena. “Noma explores the traditional fermentation processes through the use of new substrates for delivering new taste experiences. For example, they will take inspiration from shoyu fermentation. Instead of using traditional substrates, such as soybeans, they use spirulina or truffle. This is quite expensive, but nonetheless innovative.”
“[Noma] also looks at other traditional fermentations such as miso fermentation, or even the use of molds similar to those used in dairy applications or in tempeh. The idea of uncoupling traditional culture-substrate combinations is a viable way of discovery in fermentation.”
Fermentation is not considered new by any means, having dominated the condiment category with kimchi and gochujang leading the charge in previous years. In 2020, there will be a sweet shift with fermentation, as highlighted recent North America Top Flavor Trends Report. While the health benefits of the technique will not change, pickling berries and other fruits allow fermentation to be more applicable. Additionally, the pulp of fruits harvested for beans like cacao are now fermented, allowing this previously wasted byproduct to be used in new ways.
In other applications, the microbial production of high value food components such as vitamins, co-factors, flavors and antimicrobial agents for the F&B industry continues to grow. “However, what is lacking is the innovative application of traditional fermentation as a means to introduce targeted functionalities in modern food production. Specifically, the possibility of using fermentation to improve and introduce functionalities in common, wholesome food ingredients has not been fully explored,” notes Boer.
Fermented flavors and solutions at SHIFT20
Also exhibiting at SHIFT20 is Lallemand Bio-Ingredients (LBI), which develops, manufactures, and markets high-value yeast products. Headquartered in Canada, and with production facilities in Canada, the US and Europe, LBI produces a line of yeast-derived ingredients, initially focusing on yeast extracts for food and industrial fermentation. The product line developed in the time, to include mineral- and vitamin-rich yeasts and derivatives for human health applications.
Exhibitor Jungbunzlauer is showcasing a portfolio of fermentation derived ingredients, specializing in bio-based raw materials for the food, beverage, supplement and pharma industries. Offerings include Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Erythritol, Glucono-delta-Lactone, as well as a variety of additional mineral sources, organic acids and lactate blends.
In the pet food space, exhibitor Third Wave Bioactives focuses on developing novel, science-based, microbial solutions. The US-based supplier fermentate range of cultured ingredients are designed to enhance the flavor profile of perishable foods while maintaining product quality, tapping into the growing consumer demand for healthier and clean label foods.