New Bacteria Produce Butter Flavor for Plant-Based Dairy

Researchers from DTU National Food Institute in Denmark have developed new lactic acid bacteria that produce a natural butter flavour perfect for use in plant-based foods analogs, especially in dairy products. 

“Adding animal flavours is key to improving the quality and taste of plant-based dairy products,” commented Associate Professor Christian Solem from DTU National Food Institute, who is behind the innovation.

Natural vs. artificial butter flavour

Plant based butter
©Nourish Ingredients

Food scientists try to mimic animal products using bacteria in different ways. The butter flavour added to margarine is made by bacteria that convert citric acid present in oils into an artificial butter flavour. 

The newly developed lactic acid bacteria convert milk sugars into a butter flavour, not from citric acid, but from sugars achieving a better and more real butter flavour. 

“We have created a shortcut to butter flavour without using milk, but the butter aroma has the same good properties,” Christian Solem remarks.

Uses of the buttery flavour

Any plant-based dairy product can benefit from an enhanced animal flavour. From yogurts to spread cheeses, the possibilities are limitless.

“The solution is 100% natural and has been tested by a large Danish dairy with good results. We hope that more companies would like to explore it,” added Christian Solem.

The discovery is recent, and the product does not have a name yet. The researchers behind the technology will start by publishing their results in an article this autumn, 2022. Besides Christian Solem, other participants in this development are Belay Tilahyn Tadesse, Liuyan Gu, and Shuangqing Zhao.



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