Dairy Dialog podcast 130: Benexia, Ice Cream Alliance, Moolec

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Dairy Dialog podcast 130: Benexia, Ice Cream Alliance, Moolec
Dairy Dialog podcast 130: Benexia, Ice Cream Alliance, Moolec

Related tags Chia Chia seeds Ice cream Ice cream alliance pandemic dairy-free

This week, we have three interviews, one of which has four guests, and another with two. We spoke with Zelica Carr, CEO of the Ice Cream Alliance; Gastón Paladini, Martín Salinas, Henk Hoogenkamp and Catalina Jones from Moolec Science; and Remi Reguero, business development manager, and Sandra Gillot, CEO, at Benexia.

We also have our weekly look at the global dairy markets with Liam Fenton at StoneX.

New UK summer holiday campaign looks to turn around ice cream industry losses

The Ice Cream Alliance (ICA), the UK’s trade association for the ice cream sector, is mobilizing its members, the wider industry and other parts of the hospitality sector to promote their products to all those holidaying in the country this summer.

A new campaign, the Great British Ice Cream Staycation, is encouraging businesses of all types and sizes to get involved.

“Ice cream parlors and ice cream vans have been hard hit in this pandemic losing a total of £289m ($398m) in income in 2020,”​ said ICA CEO Zelica Carr.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when you add lost ice cream sales in cafes, restaurants and hotels and the economic impact to businesses along the supply chain – manufacturers, flavor houses, wholesalers and many others.”

Carr said the campaign is not about dictating to businesses how to market their products.

 “It’s about harnessing everyone’s creative flair and dynamism and providing them with the tools – across digital marketing, PR, influencer marketing, POS – to maximize sales and bounce back from a truly horrid 12 months,”​she said.

“We are providing marketing materials, guides and templates free to everyone who wants it – not just to ICA members.”

The free, downloadable DIY Marketing Toolkit is available here​. 

The ICA surveyed members on the effects of the pandemic on business in 2020.  It revealed 90 ice cream parlors have closed in the last 12 months, and that 800 mobilers have ceased trading over the same period.  However, the governments furlough scheme has been utilized by many businesses, with up to 62% of staff furloughed at some point during the pandemic.

Carr said, “The ICA was founded just after the Second World War to promote a fledgling sector during the post-war years.  The ice cream industry successfully expanded since then but has faced its biggest threat since the war from the pandemic.  We felt the ICA had to play a major role in helping our sector to recover and flourish again.”

Moolec looks to animal-free solutions in dairy

Moolec Science is a global ag-foodtech company with the purpose of improving the affordability of animal-free food solutions.

Its technological platform is based on molecular farming, a hybrid approach to plant and cell-based production technologies for alternative proteins. The company has announced a portfolio expansion to reflect its ambition to address dependency of animal proteins in every segment of the food industry.

Leveraging the increasing utilization of oat protein in the alternative dairy space, the company is functionalizing oat concentrates with co-expressed whey protein. Similarly, ovum protein is being engineered into wheat for an egg replacement specially designed for the bakery industry.

The products will join the meat analogues currently in Moolec's pipeline, blends of soybean with selected porcine proteins and pea with bovine proteins to complete its growing portfolio.

"We started exploring the space more than 10 years ago. We were the first team to fully deregulate a molecular farming crop and its functionalized protein concentrate for its use in the cheese-making industry, a product that has been successfully used in the manufacturing of thousands of tons of soft and hard cheeses. Since then, we expanded to animal-free meat ingredients and are now announcing a broadening of our pipeline into dairy and egg replacements,"​ said Gastón Paladini, CEO and co-founder.

"Proteins are responsible for the functionality, mouth experience and many nutritional aspects in food. The greatest food experiences are mostly those which include high-quality products. And top products only use the best ingredients. We want to collaborate with B2C food companies to offer the optimal journey and proper affordability for consumers by using our integral animal-free solutions."

"Our selection of dairy and egg proteins will be produced in the host crop. We are going to let the plants, the sun and the land work and, after only basic processing, Moolec's product will have superior nutritional and functional properties for a fraction of the cost. For example, our wheat and egg protein products will have a higher content of digestible protein and, thus, improved nutritional value,"​ said Henk Hoogenkamp, CPO and co-founder.

Moolec recently acquired a nutritional oil technology for the production of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA, branded SONOVA). This technology complements the company's bovine chymosin production platform, both of which are based in the safflower crop, resulting in significant efficiencies.

Benexia promotes chia for dairy and dairy alternative formulations

Benexia, headquartered in Chile, specializes in the production, processing, commercialization and marketing of chia and chia-based ingredients.

It provides chia oils, fiber, powder, seeds and premixes for dairy, beverages, bakery, plant-based products, bars, snacks, sport nutrition and more.

The company also has a brand, Seeds of Wellness, which includes products such as chia pasta and chia milk.

The average American consumes just 12 grams of fiber, less than half of the recommended 30-32 daily amount. Benexia is talking with customers about chia powder because, at 56% fiber, the natural and environmentally friendly solution is also cheaper than other options for bakery, snack and nutraceutical applications.

“Open nearly any B2B newsletter and there’s a lot of noise about the necessity of quality soluble and insoluble fiber for your health,”​ said Sandra Gillot, CEO of Benexia.

“There is significant interest in Benexia’s Xia Powder-435 LM because it is best positioned to help.”

Recognized by the FDA and worldwide as a dietary fiber, Xia Powder-435 LM may also be labeled as chia flour, chia fiber or defatted milled chia.

Chia powder has soluble and insoluble fiber, plus protein and omega-3.  Gillot said chia powder is a blend of both insoluble (45%) and insoluble (11%) fibers.

“It is a great way for consumers to achieve the recommended balance of 80% insoluble/20% soluble fiber.”

“Not only does chia give you both types of fiber in a single ingredient, it’s 100% natural and gluten-free. And because it is not hydrolyzed, its viscosity reduces the need for emulsifiers and stabilizers,”​ said Benexia business development manager Remi Reguero.

He said while Xia Powder-435 LM has omega-3s, these are protected by fiber, proteins and high antioxidant capability naturally found in chia, meaning it is stable and there is no aftertaste.

Benexia said this results in higher quality finished products, ranging from smoothies to bars, cereals, syrups, fillings, breads, frozen bakery goods, brownies, snacks and pastas.

“We haven’t seen an application for which Xia Powder-435 LM cannot be used,”​ Reguero said.

Benexia said the chia ingredient is also good for the environment.

“It has a low carbon footprint. It requires so little water that we don’t even use an irrigation system for our crops,”​ she said.

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