Another example of the kind of research carried out at Food Pilot: the test plant investigates how proteins can be processed into food products. “We work with classic protein sources such as soy and peas, but we are also exploring protein from algae, pumpkin seeds and microalgae,” explains Verstraete. “Through extrusion – the use of heat and pressure – it’s possible to give proteins a structure with fibers, so that the result looks just like chicken, for instance.”
“One of the new devices can perform extrusions of very small amounts of protein,” she adds. “This enables us to evaluate whether we can create a tasty product and whether it has ‘a good bite,’ so to speak.” The new devices can perform operations with quantities between 0.5 and 5 kg of product. This way, the Food Pilot researchers are meeting the specific demands of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).