Vegan ‘egg whites’ produced from beer waste

We’ve had biofuel, paper, yeast and bones made from brewing waste, but now Dutch start-up FUMI is using beer byproducts to produce what it’s calling the world’s first vegan and non-GMO egg white replacer.

The start-up, which was founded in March this year, has made its protein alternative from spent yeast used during the brewing process.

Developed by FUMI’s founders Edgar Suarez Garcia and Corjan van den Berg, the animal-free foodstuff is the result of a four-year research project at the Wageningen University.

Said to be “tasteless”, the product can be used both as a foaming and binding agent, as well as an emulsifier. Its developers claim the product represents a 95% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions when compared to the equivalent volume of dried chicken egg white.

van den Berg told Food Navigator: “If you go for the dried egg whites that are used in industry, it’s a 10-fold increase per kilogram – 40kg CO₂/kg.

“If you compare this to our process, you can achieve over 95% reduction of CO₂ equivalent. It is an enormous step.”​

Commenting on how he would source the spent yeast going forward, van den Berg added: “Once we scale up further and have all the logistics in place – including good collaborations with brewers – it makes more sense to source directly from beer makers.​

“As it stands, spent yeast is most commonly mixed with spent grain for animal feed. It is a low value resource, and we plan to upgrade that.”​

FUMI is marketing its product to the meat-replacement market, as well as the baking sector.

As mentioned above, brewing yeast has been used to produce a range of different products. Earlier this year, beer giant AB InBev announced that it was converting wasted alcohol from its low and no-ABV beers into biofuel, combining two major trends in the drinks industry. The brewing powerhouse is also researching ways to develop a snack brand produced from recycled protein from the brewing process.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle have devised a way of making paper from spent grain leftover from brewing, while scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed a technique that turns 85% of the waste produced in the process of beer brewing into yeast nutrients for more brewing.

Back in 2014, Spanish scientists made an unusual discovery, having developed a new biomaterial from waste discarded after beer brewing which can be used to regenerate human bones.

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