A new process for the production of nutritious vegan cheese is being developed by Marité Cárdenas, a professor at Biofilms Research Center for Biointerfaces. Now, the project is set to receives SEK 2 million from the Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation and Community Development.

The project is one of nine that will share a total of SEK 25 million from the foundation for purposes that promote research in medicine and other life sciences with the goal of promoting health care, development, innovation, and community building in the southern region of Sweden, Skåne.

The project, Nanocapsules and recombinant proteins for nutritious vegan cheese making, aims to make food production more sustainable. This is also one of the 17 global goals for sustainable development. In particular, the development of suitable alternatives to milk-based food is included. Alternatives to milk, cream and yoghurt are available on the market, but this is not the case with cheese.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to investigate how upscalable recombinant protein production suitable for cheese making can be, and here we get to combine biotechnology with formulation science,” says Cárdenas.

The few vegan cheese products available do not have the same properties as a regular cheese in terms of, for example, structure and digestibility, compared with products using methods where the casein protein from animal milk is used.

“This grant will give us the chance to develop a cost-effective and sustainable method to produce animal-free milk proteins that will be used to produce non-dairy cheese, but by using conventional cheese making procedures. The impact is huge since the cheese-making companies could slowly transition towards plant-based foods while retaining the cultural value of cheese and of the cheese making methods,” says Rita Del Giudice, who is also working on the project.


Find out more in this interview with Marité Cárdenas