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Development of an innovative and resource-efficient starter culture for the baking industry to enhance flavour diversity

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Vinarom (Development of an innovative and resource-efficient starter culture for the baking industry to enhance flavour diversity)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2019-03-31

Bread is one of the oldest prepared foods, and has long been a prime source of carbohydrates in the human diet. However, commercial yeasts utilized by these industries are essentially strains of S. Cerevisiae that have been selected and optimized for these applications. Therefore, the dominance of S. Cerevisiae in industrial fermentations limits the diversity in the aroma profiles of the end products.The appreciation of bread occupies an outstanding status in the social everyday life. According to a survey, more than 90% of the consumers think taste is the most important purchase driver for bread. Among all bakery's yeast in the market, there is no yeast other than S. Cerevisiae and although baked goods are popular in Europe, it faces a movement of criticism from some people, who demand for traditional and new bakery products, with innovations in products such as health and wellness bakery products.


Currently, 475 Million European citizens consume products containing yeast daily. An alternative as Vinarom® will cover the actual demand of a vast variety of flavors, aromas, ingredients and nutrients. Moreover, there is currently a proposal for the declaration of a World Year of Bread and the consideration of Bread as World Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.

Our company OPTIFERM has successfully developed a solution to resurrect past flavour sensations in bread and promote lost taste diversity, by a breakthrough strain called Torulaspora delbrueckii, a yeast species commonly associated with wine making. Sensory tests were evaluated by a consumer and expert panel showing promising results. This yeast is a novelty not only through its unmatched flavour characteristics, but also because of its eco-innovative cultivation concept, its exceptional freeze-resistance and its outstanding baking performance. Moreover, it is organic, kosher, and halal, while retaining all technological features for optimal dough handling.

With the support of the European commission Vinarom® is able to accelerate the upscaling and to keep R&D and pilot line activities on high level to further upgrade the product quality, to develop more biotechnological research with others strains. Moreover, Vinarom® is a great chance to extend the Europe- and worldwide contacts to potential customers.
1.1 Identification of the most promising regions with regard to the production and use of starter cultures and adjuvants for the bakery sector
1.1.1 Market analysis in European regions. (starter culture type, price & property comparison)
1.1.2 Profile of suitable clients (total cost of production, size of starter culture industry)
1.1.3 Assessment of the price trends of side streams of the food industry for nutrition medium and price elasticity of the demand
1.2 Identification of potential local distributors or commercial agents and setup of a commercialization network
1.3 Determination of Vinarom® products and commercialization strategies adapted to each region and product
1.4 Compilation of a database of potential customers, end-users and competitors
1.5 Determination of standards, technical certifications, and norms needed to be complied
1.6 Business Plan
Vinarom® positions itself as the first alternative to commercial baker’s yeast with the same ease of use and fermentative capacity. Our toolbox assembly methodology will pave the way for bakeries to develop new bread compositions and resurrect flavour diversity in country-specific, characteristic bread types, while concurrently retaining textural and rheological traits consumers and producers are accustomed to (Figure 4). As new dough handling methods like retarded or disrupted fermentation in frozen and half-baked bread, have become common practice in the baking sector, the use of S.cerevisiae as the sole leavening agent is no longer up-to-date. The baker’s yeast shows reduced colony forming units after freezing and as a result, bakers fall back to adding more yeast in dough preparation, leading to unnecessary and uneconomic amounts inside the pre-dough. Vinarom®’s excellent freeze stability will enable the European bakery sector to reduce starter culture usage in retarded dough handling preparations by up to 25%. In addition, we have studied the ability of yeasts to ferment different carbohydrate sources and developed a cultivation process based on side-streams of the food industry that allow our process to be independent of the price fluctuations of the molasses market.
While most of the flavour in bread is the result of baking in the oven, and in particular of Maillaird reactions that take place during this heating step, the sensorial characteristics are also shaped by the fermentation and choice of yeast. The foundation of the Vinarom® starter culture is built upon a strain of Torulaspora delbrueckii, which has been associated with winemaking and has been isolated from must and wine. This enables Vinarom® to form aroma components in differing quantities compared to S. cerevisiae leading to new, unique flavour sensations (Figure 5). By using available side streams of the food-industry, Vinarom® will indirectly reduce GHG-emission during the life cycle of yeasts for bread by 40%. Additionally, Vinarom® is freeze resistant and thus optimized for most recent developments in dough processing, like interrupted or retarded fermentation without resorting to over dosing, which is a common practice with standard baker’s yeast in the current market.

In 2012 1.3 million tons of baker’s yeast were produced worldwide (ECOSYS, 2015), which lead to approximately 2.7 million tons CO2 emissions (COFALEC, 2012). The majority of these emissions result from energy usage during cultivation (fermentation, concentration, cooling and storage). Apart from this, a massive fraction of CO2 emissions can be traced back to the use of molasses as nutrition medium (Figure 3). In comparison, the microorganism blend apparent in Vinarom® is assembled to use side streams of the food-industry as alternative nutrition medium. As a result, our assembled yeast blends can reduce the CO2 emissions by up to 25 % compared to conventional baker’s yeast.
Vinarom product sample