Alternatives to dairy products comprise a segment with great potential for plant-based proteins. This takes innovative solutions, because plant-based solutions with comparable properties exist for only a fraction of the many animal-based milk products. The people at Planteneers are working on changing that.

Diverse protein sources

Vegan milk substitute drinks are a trend and an important growth market. The products are aligned with the zeitgeist, and there are individuals, and in many regions entire populations, who are lactose-intolerant, so there is a specific need as well. One goal of Planteneers is to further diversify the plant-based protein sources for alternatives to dairy products, and so offer manufacturers convincing solutions for all imaginable raw materials; like drink formulations based on almonds, oats, peas, buckwheat, hemp and even algae.

Better nutrition, better taste

Planteneers goes a step further. Their specialists work not only on replicating the taste and structural properties of milk as well as possible; but also on creating nutritional added value, for example through enrichment with micronutrients like vitamins, or through formulations with no added sugar. These developments also benefit from the knowledge transfer within the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe; accordingly, SternEnzym has used its knowledge of enzymes to develop a range for cereal-based drinks. These Optizym products not only improve viscosity, they can also convert naturally present starch into glucose. This gives oat drinks a light sweetness entirely without added sugar. With its vitamin and mineral premixes, SternVitamin also makes a valuable contribution.

These activities change the position of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe in the value creation chain. While Group products typically make up only a few percent of customer products, in plant-based alternatives they often account for up to 25 percent or more. Our individual consulting is also highly valued by customers.

Future market plant-based cheese alternative

We see a large future market in plant-based cheese alternatives, and we’re entering new territory with our dairy laboratory in Ahrensburg. In March 2021 an entire cheese production line went into operation. This modern application set-up, including curing chamber, is a new playground for the development of plant-based “cheese” specialities. These innovations need to be the equal of dairy cheese in taste, texture and appearance, and they especially need to deliver equivalent nutritional value. Thus far no competitor has succeeded in creating plant-based cheese alternatives with high protein content or healthy vitamin enrichment. To do this takes real basic research, making it the ideal task for the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe and the Know-how Connection.