Pictures: CyberColloids (example products, CC logo)

CyberColloids is a unique organisation devoted to bringing hydrocolloid innovation to industry with a view to enable companies to cost effectively add value through research and development. What is hydrocolloid innovation? They are colloids (particles) mixed in water (hydro), that provide the viscosity, texture or structure of the foods we consume on a daily basis.

CyberColloids is one of the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) involved with the PROTEIN2FOOD project. Here is a short interview with Sarah Hotchkiss.

  1. Tell us a bit about your business and the role you have in relation to the PROTEIN2FOOD project.

CyberColloids are essentially food texture specialists, we are an Irish based SME with staff also in the UK and have a global client base which includes SMES through to multinational blue chip clients. The company’s core focus is on delivering cost effective texture solutions for a wide range of applications and as part of this we routinely evaluate new food ingredients for technical functionality and end use in a wide range of food applications including  meat, dairy, bakery, savoury and vegan/vegetarian. This enables us to target potential end product applications and make decisions on market positioning for new ingredients and products.

Our participation in the Protein2food project was based on the application of this expertise. Our key role was to evaluate the potential functionality of new protein concentrates and isolates developed by our partners. We have also been developing new model formulations for a range of plant-based foods that contain protein e.g. vegan burgers, faux seafood, beverages and snack bars. The aim being, to put in place a new evaluation platform, based on protein ingredients, that can be used for future R&D projects with our clients.

2.How has being part of PROTIEN2FOOD benefitted your business? (knowledge, relationships, employment etc.)

CyberColloids core expertise is built around an extensive knowledge platform for polysaccharide and hydrocolloid chemistry. The Protein2food project has given us the opportunity to develop more expertise in the area of protein-based ingredients. In our day-to-day business we have been responding to the global trend for increased plant-based food solutions and development of healthier formulations. We have been working extensively with functionalised fibre ingredients derived from under utilised plant biomass resources and side streams for the fruit and vegetable processing industry. Participation in the Protein2food project has enabled us to build the use of plant-based protein ingredients into our thinking and to develop the confidence to better engage with existing and new clients in the area of protein ingredients.

3. Once the project has ended, how will you bring your learnings from PROTEIN2FOOD into your future work?

We anticipate a substantial growth in the number of existing and future clients that will be looking to develop vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian products and also new ingredients for use in such applications. Having a better understanding of the potential to use plant-based proteins as replacements for meat and dairy proteins will be a great help, not only for re-formulation projects but also for the development of new applications and products.