Methylcellulose is an ingredient within the formulation of plant-based merchandise that has attracted destructive consideration. Utilized by high-profile manufacturers like Unimaginable Meals and Past Meat, methylcellulose, or E461, supplies enticing gelling and emulsifying properties that improve juiciness and maintain plant-based burgers collectively whereas cooking. Since plant-based proteins have a low water-holding capability and can’t be certain collectively, hydrocolloids comparable to methylcellulose are needed to attain the specified ultimate product.
However as an artificial ingredient modified from cellulose, methylcellulose will not be one thing shoppers have of their kitchen pantry and is subsequently usually held up as proof of the ‘ultra-processed’ nature of beef analogues. vegetable origin. Moreover, inclusion in a formulation can truly add extra complexity to the ingredient listing.
So the race is on to deal with this drawback and discover options. Scottish firm OCEANIUM has simply introduced the launch of its first product, a clean-label one-for-one alternative for methylcellulose known as OCEAN HEALTH Fiber.
The corporate was shaped in 2018 with the aim of producing a lot of merchandise from seaweed, comparable to modern supplies, meals elements, and pure bioactive elements for well being and cosmetics.
Its meals ingredient is made out of seaweed fiber and protein sourced from farms around the globe. “It is a pure mixture of alginates and cellulose and is actually the residue after we have refined the seaweed to take away the high-value nutraceutical elements.”defined OCEANIUM meals scientist Iain Moore. “As a result of the refining course of makes use of solely inexperienced chemistry [the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances] doesn’t considerably have an effect ont the composition or purposeful properties of this residual algal fiber.”
The greenish/brown shade of the ingredient fits meat analogues, he added. “In a hamburger it appears like cooked meat. Once you add this, you get a darker, barely brownish tint to the burger and when cooked it offers a stronger shade to the completed product.”
Not only a methylcellulose alternative
In line with the corporate, the ingredient presents improved moisture retention and water holding capability, in addition to texture, viscosity, and gelling capabilities for completed merchandise. It presents equal purposeful properties and improved organoleptic traits that may cut back the necessity to add salt. It’s not solely a alternative for methylcellulose. It has a singular umami taste that may present attention-grabbing taste dimensions to a variety of completed merchandise. Its versatility has already been examined and confirmed by OCEANIUM’s in-house meals scientists and B2B collaborators in plant-based meats, in addition to a number of different functions, together with gluten-free breads and drinks.
“It’s a distinctive product with nice performance as a consequence of its pure mixture of insoluble and soluble polysaccharides,”Moore added. “This offers it a big thickening impact at each high and low temperatures, just like methylcellulose. It’s also a really efficient water binder that may improve the moisture in breads, particularly in gluten-free recipes.”
The corporate is focusing on meals producers in Europe, the UK and the US and expects the product to be declared within the elements listing as ‘seaweed fibre’. Nonetheless, it nonetheless must get regulatory approval globally. It anticipates its US GRAS standing to be accomplished within the first quarter of 2023 and expects European approval by the tip of subsequent 12 months, though it will take longer whether it is categorized as a novel meals.
With 69% dietary fiber, made up of soluble and insoluble fibers, and a mix of proteins and minerals, the corporate additional hopes that the ingredient can assist tackle the shortage of dietary fiber in most fashionable diets.
Seaweed can additional assist improved vitamin and diets as a supply of plant-based protein and vitamins comparable to zinc, magnesium, and nutritional vitamins A, B12, and Ok.
The corporate additional envisions producers making claims in regards to the origins and sustainability of the ingredient and its processing strategies.
‘Essentially the most sustainable biomass on the planet’
OCEANIUM’s enterprise mannequin relies on proprietary biorefinery expertise that extracts most worth from sustainably farmed marine algae: a regenerative, resilient, nutrient-dense marine plant and the final word sustainable biomass for the meals, nutraceutical and supplies markets. of vegetable origin.
“On the whole, what we are attempting to attain is to maximise the utilization of the kelp biomass to attenuate any waste.”defined co-founder and CTO Charlie Bavington. “By turning seaweed right into a product mixture of high-demand elements, we’re in a position to pay the value farmers want for his or her farmed seaweed, enabling your entire seaweed worth chain, which is nascent within the Western Hemisphere. ”.
An vital a part of OCEANIUM’s mission, he mentioned, is to facilitate large-scale kelp farming in locations the place it does not already happen. It is massive in Asia, for instance, however nearly non-existent in different components of the world.
“We take into account farmed seaweed to be probably the most sustainable biomass on the planet as a consequence of its environmental and social advantages.”mentioned.
He informed us that sustainably farmed seaweed creates jobs in rural coastal areas, mitigates eutrophication by absorbing nitrogen and phosphorus, will increase biodiversity by defending nurseries and the seabed. Seaweed farms don’t want cleared land, contemporary water, insecticide or fertilizer.
OCEANIUM has up to now obtained provides from throughout Europe, together with the UK, Norway, the Faroe Islands and France. Small-scale seaweed farms are additionally quickly arising on each coasts of North America. “Algae goes to be an important a part of our future meals manufacturing and we’re simply in the beginning of that journey.”
Nonetheless, this rising business will not be with out its challenges. “On the whole, it’s scale,”Bavington mentioned. And whereas OCEANIUM’s product shall be ‘competitively’ priced in comparison with methylcellulose, seaweed farmers face numerous technological and price obstacles in making an attempt to scale up manufacturing and the shortage of processing capability doesn’t meet the demand. nice demand for elements.
“We’re all conscious that buyers demand clear label meals merchandise and elements that present well being advantages and likewise present an impactful and totally traceable story of provenance and sourcing.”added OCEANIUM Director of Enterprise Improvement, Marissa Nicolais. “Whereas seaweed continues to be a comparatively nascent ingredient in meals merchandise, extra shoppers are figuring out it as a possible resolution due to the varied advantages it will possibly present.”