Research helps water kefir start-up on the market

CPH FOOD, where Danish Food Cluster is one of five partner, has been essential to the small start-up Pure Kefir Crystals.

It is one thing to work with a new idea in your home kitchen, it is something completely different to develop the idea and to live up to the requirements of the Food Authorities.”

The statement is from the entrepreneur behind Pure Kefir Crystals, Mayianne Malin Holm Dinesen. Surely, this is an issue that many entrepreneurs can recognize.

There are many challenges in the process of developing the right water kefir recipe:

The challenge when working with water kefir is to control a living fermentation process. You have many buttons that you can turn, and the challenge is to figure out which buttons and how much you need to turn each button in order to get the result you want,” says Mayianne.

That is why it was a great help for Mayianne to become part of the project CPH FOOD. CPH FOOD consist of the partners; DTU FOOD National Food Institute, University of Copenhagen, Capnova, Agro Business Park and Danish Food Cluster, who work to create partnerships between SMEs and knowledge institutions.

Here Pure Kefir Crystals was paired with a research team from DTU, which provided the company with a ton of knowledge on their water kefir product:

We studied the basic fermentation properties, where we among other things looked at the sugar concentration and identification of organism. In addition to that we performed a consumer test on the sensory properties of the water kefir, and we made it possible to scale up the production,” says Associate Professor at DTU FOOD National Food Institute, Timothy John Hobley, who was the leading researcher on the Pure Kefir Crystal project.

The CPH FOOD project has been a “fast-forward button” for the small company, according to Mayianne:

Based on the research performed by the DTU researchers, we now know all the basic values or bacteria, vitamins and minerals in the product. Therefore, we can document the probiotic and nutritional content of the product as well as what good properties our drink has for the body – properties already documented and confirmed by research. This is especially important, when introducing a new product like water kefir to the consumer” says Mayianne.

Water kefir is part of a growing market, which on a global scale is expected to grow from 215 billion kroner in 2015 to 300 billion in 2020, according to the world’s second largest market analysis bureau, Marketandmarket. Mayianne herself has positive expectations:

The market calls for more probiotic products, and soon consumers will discover water kefir and it’s many positive effects, and then the demand will rise,” Mayianne states.

More start-ups should participate in CPH FOOD, because it is a unique offer for entrepreneurs, who rarely has many financial resources available:

It is essential for a start-up business without many financial resources to get the knowledge and especially the network that we got from being part of the project,” says Mayianne.

Pure Kefir Crystals are working on having their water kefir product in stores around Copenhagen during March.

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