Vegan protein Yeastin shows strong sustainability in life cycle assessment

Protein from BSY, such as the one found in Yeastin, is more resource-efficient as a basis for burger patties than pea or beef protein.

A study at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) has recently evaluated the environmental impact of burger patty production. A patty made with proteins sourced from brewer’s spent yeast (BSY) was compared with conventional beef and a vegan one as benchmarks. The ISO 14040 ff Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) showed that Yeastin can reduce the environmental footprint of a 113g burger patty by 74–81% depending on the indicator examined.

The research results of the Institute for Ecopreneurship at the FHNW are significant: a vegan burger patty made from Yeastin protein by Yeastup has a smaller ecological footprint than one made from pea protein. The production of pea protein had the greatest environmental impact on the conventional vegan patty (19–45%), with the meat in the beef patty producing a figure of 84–98%. Compared with the beef patty, the environmental ramifications of the Yeastup alternative were significantly lower across all impact assessment methods, possibly because of the elevated global warming potential (GWP) of beef production.

However, Daniel Gnos, founder of Yeastup, saw another huge advantage: “Thanks to the use of an industrial by-product, Yeastin requires no arable land, no cultivation, no irrigation and no pesticides. This is a clear ecological benefit over animal and plant sources.”

Ecologically and nutritionally valuable alternative

Of the environmental footprint of Yeastin, 56% was attributable to the animal feed substitution that replaces the brewer’s spent yeast in its previous use, which must be taken into account in accordance with the requirements of the general guidelines for the preparation of an ecological footprint (PEF). Compared with the benchmark pea protein, Yeastup protein has an approximately 81% lower environmental impact, 74% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and an 80% lower cumulative energy demand. Yeastin has the potential to become a promising alternative to animal and vegetable proteins due to its significantly lower environmental footprint and excellent nutritional properties.

Yeastin delivers purity and quality and, importantly, has a neutral taste. Furthermore, its nutritional profile matches that of animal proteins. Protein formulations containing Yeastin also showed promising functional properties in initial laboratory scale trials. There are numerous application possibilities, too, from meat substitutes and cheese alternatives to sports nutrition products.

Gnos believes his team is offering the food industry a trail-blazing sustainable and vegan alternative protein: “In our LCA study, we investigated the environmental impact of producing protein from BSY and using it as an ingredient in burger patties,” he explained. “With these results, we aim to demonstrate the potential environmental benefits of using proteins derived from a high-quality brewery residue to our current and future project partners in the food industry using a global benchmark.”