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Tetra Pak leverages whole soybean and okara by-product in latest processing system

December 10, 2022
Consumer Packaged Goods

Tetra Pak has unveiled a cutting-edge processing method for soy drinks that uses whole soybeans. With many consumers turning to plant-based beverages as a healthy option, “whole soy” has set the bar for the clean label standard.

The processing method reduces food waste as the okara by-product is reintegrated into the final beverage and not discarded. Okara or soy pulp consists of insoluble parts of the soybean after pureed soybeans are filtered to make soy milk or tofu.

The nutritional content of soybean drinks is boosted, as a result of the processing method, with 1.2% fiber compared with the average of 0.26% in other soy drinks.

Okara, soy pulp or tofu dregs is a pulp consisting of insoluble parts of the soybean that remain after pureed soybeans are filtered in the production of soy milk and tofu.

The innovation paves the way for new products in the yogurt, spreads, ice cream and meal replacement categories. The launch forms part of the company’s drive to build an ecosystem that helps open doors in food safety and availability.

The food processing and packaging solutions giant also recently collaborated with food technology incubator Fresh Start to help burgeoning businesses in Israel develop food and food packaging solutions to combat some of the global food systems’ challenges.

Hitting the clean label brief
Tetra Pak’s processing method for soy drinks has been developed in response to consumer demand for healthy, immunity-boosting products. Plant-based beverages are gaining considerable traction in the US and Europe among consumers seeking more nutritious options.

“Diversifying product range and boosting nutritional value with ‘whole soy’ products will help food and drink manufacturers reach new consumers in an increasingly competitive market,” says Hemang Dholakia, centre of expertise manager in plant-based processing solutions and equipment at Tetra Pak.

The company has also experimented with different grinding solutions, reducing okara particles so they can be integrated into the final product without impacting taste or texture and producing a versatile, high-fiber beverage.

This solution has a shelf life stability of 6-12 months without stabilizers or emulsifiers, making it a clean label product.

“We have a long history of innovating to solve challenges in the food industry and reduce food waste. The combination of our processing know-how, technological advancements and experience working with various soy-based solutions made our decision to launch a commercially viable soy drink solution easy,” explains Dholakia.

Prioritizing taste and texture
In 2021, Tetra Pak embarked on a strategic collaboration with the connected factory worker platform Poka to accelerate zero waste processes in food manufacturing plants.

The company is also partnering with cell-free biomanufacturing processes developer EnginZyme to bring environmentally sustainable and economically sound nutrition and food waste solutions to the food and beverage industry.

The soy line was co-created with customers at Tetra Pak’s product development center in China to produce a high-fiber product with no added sugar, a creamy taste and texture and a smooth mouthfeel.

Since then, more customers in Asia have added whole soy beverages as premium products to their portfolios, Tetra Pak outlines.

Edited by Inga de Jong


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