NETHERLANDS – Japan’s DAIZ Engineering, a food-tech start-up with patented germination technology, has collaborated with NIZO Food Research to establish the European Germination Food-Tech Center in Wageningen, Netherlands.

The centre aims to advance the development of “hybrid dairy products” by combining animal-based dairy with plant-derived protein-based dairy alternatives.

Located in the renowned “Food Valley” of the Netherlands, Wageningen serves as a global hub for agricultural and food technologies, hosting over 1,500 food-related and chemical companies.

The collaboration between DAIZ Engineering and NIZO Food Research is positioned to drive innovation in the alternative protein sector, specifically focusing on the development of hybrid dairy products.

DAIZ Engineering’s proprietary “Ochiai Germination Method” activates seeds using germination to enhance functionality and nutritional value.

The germination process, which activates enzymes naturally present in seeds, results in improved sensory properties and protein digestibility.

“By stopping the germination of the seed, a more neutral-tasting protein ingredient can be created. The germination process also leads to a change in the amino acid profile, which leads to improved protein digestibility,” Rudy Simons, Business Development Manager – Food & Protein at DAIZ, explained.

The newly-established European Germination Food-Tech Center at NIZO will focus on germinating various seeds, including beans, grains, and nuts, using the Ochiai Germination Method.

Experts at NIZO will evaluate the nutritional value and digestibility of germinated seeds. The acquired expertise in plant-based proteins will be leveraged to develop new food ingredients, with the intention of proposing them to global food manufacturers.

DAIZ Engineering has previously demonstrated the potential of its germination technology in Japan, where it introduced germinated soy-based hybrid meat and egg products at 7-Eleven, the country’s largest convenience store chain.

The collaboration with NIZO aims to optimize the technology and expand its success from Japan into Europe.

Simons noted that different raw materials, such as soybeans, yellow peas, or lentils, respond differently to germination conditions, resulting in a variety of ingredients.

The improved sensory profile and enhanced digestibility make these germinated ingredients suitable for various product types, providing opportunities for innovation in the food industry.

“Varying conditions and raw materials can therefore result in a whole new range of ingredients. The functionality of these ingredients will determine their applicability in food products,” he added.

“Surely, their improved sensory profile and better digestibility will make them suitable for various product types.”

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