Meaty opportunities from waste

Using novel processing equipment available at the BDC, Quorn is exploring new uses for by-products from their vegetarian food production process.

UK-based Quorn is a market leader in meat substitutes, both in its native Europe and the US. Unlike other brands using soy or grains, their product range is made with mycoprotein, produced by fermentation – a process commonly used in foodstuffs including bread and beer.

As part of the business’ continued innovations, the team at Quorn are working with a variety of partners to explore the best uses for by-products from their production process.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with Quorn on this exciting project,” says Dr Fabien Deswarte, Business Development Unit Manager at the BDC. “Years ago, Quorn had a use for this waste stream, but changing technologies and waning equipment, meant this was no longer viable. Now, they are revisiting what can be done with novel processing techniques that have been developed since”.

Over the six months since the start of 2015, Quorn have been working with the process design and scale-up specialists at the BDC to explore different techniques for turning their bulky, wet material into something useful.

“We’ve been running trials on batches of about half a ton to explore how we can transform this ‘waste’ into a by-product,” explains Dr James Tunstall, Senior Technologist at the BDC. “We have been looking at different methods of drying the material through concentrating the water or gently heating it in our specialist equipment.”

Muyiwa Akintoye at Quorn concludes: “The service we have received at the BDC has been excellent – James has gone above and beyond to develop processes for our specific material. Having conducted some successful trials, we hope to be in a position soon to provide prospective end-users with samples to test in their products and are confident this will result in new collaborations.”

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