- Bakery ingredients maker Puratos is partnering with food tech company Shiru to evaluate and scale alternatives to egg proteins for baked goods. Shiru, which uses its Flourish discovery platform to find plant-based proteins that have the same functionality as those found naturally found in animal-based foods, said it has found proteins and produced prototypes that could take the place of egg ingredients.
- Through this partnership, Puratos will use its fermentation capability to prototype ingredients for application testing in several baked goods, and Shiru will work to accelerate the timeline to make them available to baked goods customers.
- This is the second partnership between Shiru and a large ingredients maker. In March, CP Kelco announced it was working with Shiru to develop and scale up next-generation plant proteins as more sustainable solutions for several common ingredients.
Eggs have been a vital ingredient to baked goods for their structural, gelation and binding properties, but they also can be problematic. Not only are eggs one of the most common allergens, but they’re also subject to volatile pricing swings based on supply and demand.
As Shiru pointed out in a fact sheet on the agreement, eggs also generally get low marks for sustainability. Researchers have found that a dozen eggs from an intensive and traditional farm produces the equivalent of 2.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Poultry farms also significantly contribute to land and water pollution.
Plant-based alternatives could solve many of the issues around eggs. And unlike companies that use trial and error to find different substitutes, Shiru uses science to find proteins that could be a sure bet. Shiru uses existing databases and bioinformatics to analyze which proteins provide the desired function in ingredients. Then it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find which of these proteins also exist in plants and can perform a similar function. Next, Shiru uses precision fermentation to produce more of the same protein, and puts it to the test.
Soon after Shiru closed its $17 million Series A investment round, founder and CEO Jasmin Hume said that it was concentrating on identifying plant-based proteins that can offer the same gelling properties commonly provided by eggs, dairy, gelatin and collagen, as well as replacing methylcellulose.
Puratos has had an active year. The more than century-old Belgian baking ingredients company opened the year with 26-year company veteran Pierre Tossut taking over as CEO. So far in 2022, Puratos has acquired a Belgian probiotics company, bought a Czech baking mix supplier, and opened a new innovation center in Issaquah, Washington.
This spring, the company launched a life-cycle assessment of its ingredients so its customers could more easily determine sustainability metrics. And Puratos has been advertising its ability to help customers inexpensively find replacements for commodity ingredients like dairy and egg.
The agreement with Shiru shows that Puratos has more it wants to do in terms of sustainability and cost for its customers. Shiru’s focus is on more sustainable ingredient solutions — which likely means better scores in a life-cycle analysis and more consistent costs for ingredients.