SusCheese – Sustainable and tasty cheese by combining dairy and plant ingredients
Hybrid products have previous been successfully implemented by the Danish dairy industry. An obvious category is the spreadable butters that were introduced in the 90s. This hybrid product is a mix of butter and canola oil making it more spreadable and easier to use. SusCheese aims at transferring the success of hybrid butter to the cheese production, by creating the scientific foundation for the development of tasty cheese-like products – based on both dairy and plant ingredients.
By: Grith Mortensen
Dairy products such as cheese have reached the current level of quality and diversity through centuries of practice and research. For the plant-based alternatives the research has only just begun on the journey on how to convert plant raw materials into palatable, textural and nutritionally adequate products that offer a sustainable alternative to dairy products. Only a few fermented plant-based cheese-like products are currently available in the market, and most of them exhibit non-optimal mouthfeel, flavor and texture profiles, thus limiting costumer acceptance. To overcome these hurdles, manufacturers use several additives to improve the taste, texture, and mouthfeel to mimic the correspondent dairy products. An alternative way is to make hybrid cheese products by combining the good qualities for cheese from milk with the sustainability from the plant proteins.
The focus of SusCheese is on Nordic legumes (beans and peas) combined with cow milk to form hybrid curds. The project aims at generating processes leading to cheeses with protein ratios (plant/animal) of 1:3, 1:1, and 3:1. The protein and energy content in the hybrid cheeses will be similar to the traditional cheese. This project is providing new knowledge on the effect of enzyme/microbiological/processing steps and techno-functional protein properties of hybrid curds. Hybrid cheeses will suit most consumers, and if the resulting products meet the expectations of consumers, the impact on sustainability will be significant compared to traditional cheeses based on cow’s milk.
Project period: April 2023 - March 2026
Budget: 3,594,134 DKK
Financing: Danish Dairy Research Foundation, REPLANTED (Innomission AgriFoodTure), in-kind from all participants
Project manager: Claus Heiner Bang-Berthelsen
Institution: National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark
Participants: National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark; Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen
The results originating from the project will be published on this page when they become publicly available.