New protein sources: Valio eyes opportunity for meat substitutes using Finnish milk

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21 Jun 2018 --- The popularity of meat substitute products has grown significantly in recent years and consumers, particularly millennials, have been keen to try out new ingredients and foods that answer the modern needs of flexitarian or vegetarian consumers. In response to these key trends, Valio has launched a protein source that is promoted as ideal for food preparation at home. Valio MiFU is a Finnish food innovation made from milk and can be used in recipes that call for meat or chicken.

The strips have been available in stores in Sweden since the beginning of the year. 

“Quite a lot is demanded from even a simple home-cooked dish: it should be healthy, quick to prepare, and tasty to the whole family. People get tired of making the same meals and are looking for variety. We had these issues in mind when we set out to develop Mifu. Valio MiFU products inspire people to try something new,” says Pia Järvinen, Business Manager at Valio.

Click to Enlarge“The food expertise in Finland is truly outstanding. Valio MiFU is a great example of how milk can be turned into many forms and uses. Valio’s product development legacy goes back more than a century,” Järvinen adds.

The story of Valio MiFU products started when Valio’s internal innovation team was assigned the task of coming up with a new way to use the casein protein found in milk. The starting point for product development was to find alternative protein sources to meat. Many challenges had to be overcome before the successful end result, according to the company.

“One of the most important tasks of product development was developing a texture that could be pan-fried. Creating a good texture and mouthfeel, however, wasn’t enough: the product also had to remain the same when heated and be easy to use in food preparation,” notes researcher Niko Nurmi from Valio. 

Shelf-life and a product that would make every day cooking nutritional and tasty for the whole family was also a focus.

“The nutritional values we aimed for were a high protein and a low-fat content – without compromising on good taste,” Nurmi continues.

“Perfecting the product took time and was a collaborative effort of product developers, researchers and production professionals. It’s always an especially exciting moment when the product moves from your own desk to a bigger scale. And naturally, we always test the products with consumers. They provide the most important feedback,” Nurmi explains.

Mifu can be used in recipes that call for meat or chicken; it doesn’t require pre-preparation or pre-cooking. Mifu is best when used in hot meals as is or after browning in a frying pan. Mifu maintains its texture and mouthfeel well when heated. Valio MiFU strips are also rich in protein (24g per 100g). The products are free of lactose, gluten, eggs and yeast, so they are suitable for many special diets. Valio MiFU products are made from milk and milk protein, so they are not suitable for a vegan diet.

On Wednesday, June 20, Valio MiFU strips won the World Dairy Innovation Awards competition in the Best New Brand/Business category. Valio will also showcase the products in September at SIAL Paris later this year (21-25 October).

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

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