Growing plant-based cheeses with fermented melon seed milk | Technoscoob

Dairy different classes are quick increasing. Initially dominated by plant-based milk, in the present day dairy-free yoghurt, ice cream, and cheese merchandise are available to buyers in Europe.

Nevertheless this final class, cheese, has proved difficult for R&D groups to satisfy client expectations on style, texture, performance, and diet. More and more, firms are turning to modern substances to spice up protein content material, flavour, or meltability, akin to fermented nuts and legumes​, aquafaba​, or microalgae protein​.

Now, a plant-based cheese start-up in Barcelona is coming to market with one other ingredient: upcycled melon seed milk. The milk-like drink has ‘superb’ dietary values and when fermented, it generates ‘cheese-like’ aromas, Väcka co-founder and CEO Ana Luz Sanz explains.

Upcycling melon seeds into ‘milk’

Väcka was based by Luz Sanz and Maxime Boniface in 2021. Shortly after, the start-up discovered its area of interest: plant-based cheeses. Väcka cheese alternate options can be found in additional than 400 factors of sale, throughout retail and foodservice, together with pizzerias.

Not too long ago, the start-up determined to remodel two of the merchandise in its portfolio: Mözza and Chxddar. New variations of those merchandise have changed coconut oil with olive oil, and almond milk with fermented melon seed milk.

Sooner or later, these substances may even be added to different merchandise in its portfolio, notably its Vrie and Filä varieties.


The beginning-up has determined to remodel two of the merchandise in its portfolio: Mözza and Chxddar. New variations of those merchandise have changed coconut oil with olive oil, and almond milk with fermented melon seed milk. Picture supply: Väcka

“Melon seed milk is a beverage that could be a combination between water and grinded melon seeds, that’s afterwards filtered to take away residues,” ​Sanz instructed FoodNavigator. “This offers a milk-like drink with superb dietary values and a few dairy-like notes, that we fermented to generate cheese-like aromas.”

Väcka produces the melon seed milk itself, leveraging quite a lot of seeds in a ‘tailor-made choice’ for its merchandise. Seeds are sourced from melon varieties akin to cantaloup, galia, camouflage, and canary.

“We at the moment are learning extra exactly which selection is giving us one of the best dietary outcomes.”

Dietary and sustainability advantages

Swapping out coconut oil and almond milk for olive oil and upcycled melon seed milk affords advantages throughout the board, starting from environmental sustainability to diet and style, in keeping with the start-up. Particularly, the modifications have led to a extra environmentally pleasant manufacturing course of, lowering water consumption by 99.1% land use by 98.7%, and CO2 emissions by 91.8%.

From a diet standpoint, melon seeds comprise linoleic acid, which has a constructive affect on neuronal functioning, strengthening of the immune system, and on ldl cholesterol discount.

Additional, subbing out coconut oil with olive oil signifies that Väcka’s Mözza manufacturers comprises 73.6% fewer saturated fat.

The brand new revamped Mözza product comprises melon seed milk, starch combine, oat flour, white beans, dietary yeast, agave syrup, salt, potato protein, lithothamnium calcareum (calcium) and ferments. The Pumpkin Chxddar product comprises the identical checklist of substances, in addition to pumpkin.

The ‘most superb’ substances utilized in Väcka’s cheese, nonetheless, are the microorganisms, we have been instructed. “We’re utilizing a specifically focused mix of non-commercially out there strains which might be producing extra flavours and texture compounds for our closing merchandise.”

Higher elasticity and flexibility

The beginning-up claims to the be first and solely plant-based meals tech to be working with the mix of olive oil and melon seed milk on this class.

Väcka wished to make ‘full use’ of the pumpkins as the primary ingredient in its Pumpkin Chxddar product. Consequently, the start-up began to discover the performance of pumpkin seeds and adopted up with exams on different facet stream ‘waste’ merchandise.

“From these exams, melon seeds carried out one of the best when it comes to color – similar to the color of milk – and performance,” ​defined Sanz. “It’s simply fermented, and different useful examples embrace its meltability: a cheese based mostly on melon seed milk in comparison with, for instance, almond milk, has a better melting space.”

Certainly, the completed product has a 3.3. elevated within the melted space, giving it better elasticity and flexibility within the preparation of dishes.

Aroma was one other issue, with melon seed milk having the ‘highest resemblance to take advantage of’.


Sooner or later, melon seed milk and olive oil may even be added to different merchandise in its portfolio, notably its Vrie and Filä varieties. Picture supply: Väcka

Advantages related to improved texture signifies that Väcka can now launch Mözza in a sliced and grated format, whereas beforehand it was bought in ‘massive blocks’ solely. The Pumpkin Chxddar was beforehand bought as a sauce or ‘dip kind’ however is now additionally out there in sliced and grated codecs.

“Within the laboratory, we do fixed analysis and growth work to enhance each the looks of the merchandise and the efficiency of the substances used of their manufacturing,” ​defined Boniface, “and on the environmental affect of the manufacturing course of.”

Worldwide enlargement

Väcka has filed a patent utility with the US Patent and Trademark Workplace (USPTO) beneath the heading ‘Vegan cheese analogs and methodology for producing the identical’.

The appliance describes how melon seeds, a by-product upcycled via fermentation, can be utilized to product dairy-free cheese with improved useful and sustainable properties in comparison with the manufacturing course of for almonds or soybeans.

“The US represents the most important plant-based cheese market, and subsequently it’s on curiosity for the enterprise growth of the corporate to patent there,” ​defined Sanz.

The beginning-up can also be targeted on the European market, nonetheless. Already available on the market in Spain, Väcka will quickly have the chance to enter the French market. Germany can also be on its radar, being the most important client of dairy cheeses in Europe.

“The patent shall be prolonged to Europe too, and so defending varied markets of curiosity,” ​mentioned Sanz.

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