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Animal-free casein: Pureture CEO says “game-changing” yeast protein fully replicates traditional dairy

Pureture (formerly Armored Fresh Technologies), a biotechnology company based in New York City, has developed a plant-based casein that is a non-GMO protein and designed to be used in alternatives to cheeses and other dairy products such as milk and yogurt.

The characteristic of Pureture’s protein is that it is not a copy of animal protein but is a raw material that can be replicated in terms of nutritional and functional aspects. In addition, it offers emulsifying properties.

Pureture’s unique yeast culture technology (traditional fermentation) is distinguished from widely used plant-based casein that replaces existing animal proteins.

Pureture will continue developing its “safest and most authentic” fermentation technology without GMO technology.

Food Ingredients First speaks with the company’s founder and CEO, Rudy Yoo, who tells us about the challenges of creating animal-free casein.

“We analyzed other companies’ methods when recreating plant-based, animal-free casein and found many companies were using GMO methods, ultimately leaving the consumer feeling uneasy,” he comments.

Through its research, Pureture believes there are little or no existing plant-based, functional and nutritional proteins that are viable and scalable. “Additionally, other proteins were priced very high due to the technology (GMO methods) being used, and most plant-based proteins didn’t have any function or stability when it came to applications,” he explains.

The company wanted to find a functional and nutritional plant-based protein that made consumers feel good about consuming. “So, the team at Pureture persevered through challenges to develop our product,” notes Yoo.

Yoo adds that while it faced difficulties in product development, this allowed the company to address all the needs and understand what is currently lacking in the plant-based protein space.

Yeast strain development

Sourcing from yeast and creating a non-GMO functional and nutritional protein was “game-changing,” according to Yoo.

“We were able to address all the problems from cost to nutrition and application and we believe this protein solution has the potential to change the industry altogether,” he remarks.

“We developed our very own yeast strain, and this development is best optimized for Pureture’s manufacturing methods and approach.”

By utilizing this carefully developed yeast strain, Pureture’s plant-based protein achieved the properties of a complete protein (all necessary essential amino acids.) As a result, the protein Pureture developed has reached “a perfect score of PDCCAS 1,” Yoo remarks.

Emulsifying function

Pureture’s protein is a 1:1 functionality replication of a dairy-based protein and is classified as a complete protein. In addition to the nutritional properties, Pureture’s protein has a functional advantage. The protein has its own emulsifying function. Therefore, it can be applied in multiple ways.

“As a result, anything made with Pureture’s protein will have a clean label, eliminating the need for any additives,” notes Yoo.

“For consumers looking to follow or shift into a plant-based diet and lifestyle, many vegan products lack nutritional value and simply do not taste great.”

Pureture saw a demand in this and concluded that the core technology needed to compete with dairy is, in fact, casein. The market goes beyond the alt-dairy industry and expands to the protein industry.

To cut down on cost and keep functionality, many brands are using whey protein with additives. Pureture developed its protein with this issue in mind, adds Yoo. “By developing Pureture’s protein, we’re looking to solve this problem and truly push the boundaries of the alt-dairy and protein industry as a whole.”

Alt-dairy dairy and beyond

Pureture’s yeast culture process uses raw materials upcycled from nature as the primary feed source. Through this process, Pureture can produce protein 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, as long as water and oxygen are continuously supplied.

“It can play an important role and be a human protein source,” Yoo details. “The advantage behind this process is it’s unaffected by environmental changes; therefore, it can serve as a stable source of nutrition in the future.”

In addition, he adds that having this protein can cut down on the need for dairy farming or livestock production, as eliminating the feed for these animals will contribute to eliminating world hunger.

“At Pureture, we are committed to developing animal-free materials that function like animal protein,” he continues.

“With this innovation, we’re thrilled to introduce a product that ensures the joy of dairy flavor and texture remains while delivering a cleaner label and contributing to a more sustainable future.”

The brand plans to collaborate with significant dairy companies to co-brand its plant-based casein and partner with global ingredients vendors to expand its usage.

The company currently has plans and is in the initial stages of creating an alternative protein for the meat and seafood industry. Pureture is focused and determined to grow the plant-based, alt-dairy, and alt-meat sectors by developing and manufacturing the best proteins available.

“Reiterating that although we are currently focusing on alt-dairy, Pureture’s plans go well beyond and are in the initial stages of creating alternative proteins to tackle the meat and seafood industries with a single goal of growing together,” concludes Yoo.


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