Renaissance announces grant to address plant-based protein off odors with their yeast technology

(Image: Renaissance BioScience)

Renaissance BioScience has announced its project to develop a yeast-based solution to address the challenge of off-flavours and aromas in plant-based protein products.

Renaissance has been awarded CA$232,000 in funding from the Canadian Food Innovation Network (CFIN) to support the company’s work with food industry partners in developing a clean-label, non-GMO solution that will showcase Renaissance’s ability to change and neutralize compounds that lead to off-flavours and undesirable aromas in plant-based flours and proteins.

Plant-based protein products offer certain health and sustainability benefits versus traditional animal-based proteins. However, the challenge of unpleasant flavours and odours hinders product diversification and widespread consumer acceptance. Protein Industries Canada’s 2023 Global Market Forecast study noted that 44% of consumers wish for a wider variety of plant-based products and 58% of consumers who reduced their consumption of plant-based protein cited unappealing taste and texture as a reason.

Renaissance addresses the plant-based protein flavour challenge by applying its clean-label, non-GMO yeast technology that uses natural fermentation. The company has previously had success in applying its yeast bioengineering expertise to reduce the presence of the off-aroma contaminant hydrogen sulphide in a range of out-licensed wine and beer yeast strains.

This plant-based project has the support of Pulse Canada, and Renaissance is also collaborating with food industry partners to ensure the yeast’s effectiveness and efficiency in commercial settings. The end objective is to create a clean-label, non-GMO solution that aligns with evolving consumer expectations.

To further propel the commercialization of this innovative technology, the Government of Canada’s international Trade Commissioner Service has included Renaissance in its 2024 Food Technologies Canadian Technology Accelerator programme. This strategic initiative connects Canadian corporations with export, investment, and partnership opportunities in global markets.

According to Protein Industries Canada 2023 market projections, the worldwide plant-based protein market is expected to grow from US$40bn in 2021 to potentially more than US$200bn by 2035, demonstrating potential for innovative solutions.

Dr John Husnik, Renaissance’s CSO and office of the CEO, commented: “We’re excited to receive this funding from CFIN and to be accepted into the 2024 Food Technologies Canadian Technology Accelerator programme for our clean-label, non-GMO yeast technology. Our team is confident that we can neutralise the off-aromas and flavours in plant-based protein foods, and we look forward to mutually beneficial outcomes for our company, our partners, and plant-based food makers around the world. Our innovative yeast platform technology will contribute to Canada’s growing role as a global leader in plant-based foods and sustainable protein innovation.”