Blog by Sander Sieuwerts, Brannatura

Disruption in dairy-alternatives: Brannatura fights for a more sustainable and healthier alternative

Brannatura took a by-product from the milling industry and boosted it with full value. The result was a new dairy-alternative. But the road to a healthy and sustainable product is long, challenged and includes high costs. With new solutions packed, Brannatura made it. Find out more in this blogpost.

We started with a vision: We wanted to provide the consumers with a tastier, healthier and sustainable dairy-alternative.

But the road to get there was quite expensive and hard. Therefore, we became part of a project in Future Food Innovation, who helped us with funds and partners – partners who were to help us in the product development process.

Tackling the challenge: Healthy and sustainable means challenges with taste and higher costs

Being food innovator anno 2018 it is, or should in my opinion be, natural to act not only in relation to taste, texture and price, but also in relation to health, nutrition and sustainability. If we look at the trends among consumers, we see a shift in focus towards these latter considerations. For processed food, ‘clean-label’, absence of ‘artificial’ ingredients including stabilizers, emulsifiers, flavorings and even added sugar, becomes increasingly important to consumers. This poses great challenges for food companies and researchers, because sugar, fat, salt and added flavorings simply taste really good, and more sustainable and clean-label production methods often come with increased cost and technical difficulties.

The consumer namely, despite focusing more on health and sustainability, does not want to make concessions when it comes to sensory experience.

Then, how to win the hearts of consumers by making products that tick off all the boxes?

New solutions have come to the rescue

In the past decade or so, a whole range of solutions has come into place that aid the clean-label development of healthy processed products. These vary from new ingredients to dedicated processing aids and breakthrough technologies. There are for example ‘natural flavorings’, likeumami or kokumi peptides that allows lower salt levels without impairing the perceived aroma, and enzymatic solutions such as lactases that split lactose to the sweeter glucose and galactose allowing reduction of added sugar without having to compensate with (natural or artificial) additives like stevia extracts and other high intensity sweeteners. As alternatives to conventional heat treatment, which often gives rise to undesired tastes and physical instability, technologies such as High Pressure Processing (HPP) may be used, also avoiding the need for stabilizers.

A strong demand and need for a dairy-alternative with the superpowers of milk

It’s not that animal-based products are unsustainable and unhealthy per se, but still we see a diary-free consumer trend, where the consumers demand plant-based alternatives.

You might ask yourself, do these dairy alternatives beat milk in terms of nutrition and sustainability?

The short answer is ‘no’. But the more moderate answer is that it very much depends on the product. Many dairy alternatives do not quite provide the level of nutrition found in milk. There is hardly any product on the market that provides a protein level and quality similar to milk, while minerals and vitamins also lag behind. Some of the dairy alternatives are also not produced in a sustainable way. It takes, for example, no less than four liters of water to grow one single almond in California, where around 80% of the almonds worldwide are grown. In that respect, dairy alternatives based on grains are more sustainable than nut and pod-based ones despite their relatively poorer nutrition.

That’s why my partner and I thought it was time for a positive disruption in this product category, wouldn’t you agree?

A new era of healthy plant-based drinks is coming

In Brannatura ApS we can tick off both the healthy and the sustainability box without compromising on either taste, texture or price. How is this possible?

Because we developed a technology that can harvest the nutritional goodness from by-products from the milling industry and even better is that it’s with minor amounts of selected plant proteins.

The fact that our main ingredient is another industry’s by-product, makes it very sustainable and relatively cheap. On top of that, we apply the right formulation and new processing solutions, which results in a drink containing the nutritional quality of real milk. Thanks to the funds from Future Food Innovation, we were able to test our technology and produce a range of minimally viable prototypes. It is a great step for our ambition to provide a healthy and sustainable choice to consumers.

What’s next?
Currently we are solving some last technological issues, further developing types with special flavors using fruits and fermentation, and we are in discussion with partners who can help us with the production. If all goes well, you can buy our products in the supermarket in the course of 2019. Can’t wait or otherwise interested? Visit our website

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About the author

Blog by Sander Sieuwerts,
Co-founder, Brannatura


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