We’ve heard of vegan cheese, which is normally made from either coconut milk or cashew milk and nutritional yeast (to give it the cheesy flavour), and although vegan feta is made with tofu, we bet that you haven’t heard of cheese made from soy and that it helps with your brain health. A team from the Republic Polytechnic in Singapore recently created three soy-based functional food prototypes from the soy manufacturing by-product, okara. The idea to process okara into functional, healthier food products won the team the Delight Explorer Award (an award recognising students with unique, innovative product and service ideas).
The plant-based prototypes
DHA-rich cream cheese
This cream cheese is infused with plant-based DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is an omega-3 fatty acid that helps promote healthy brain function. Preliminary research validation tests (small scale Electroencephalography [EEG] trial) showed enhanced mental focus after consumption of the cream cheese.
Imagine, eating cheese that will help you stay alert! Perhaps we can then start cutting down on those cups of coffee…or we won’t go into a ‘food coma’ after a meal containing this.
Soy cheese & soy cream soup powder
Both products have significantly lower sodium and sugar content compared to their commercial counterparts, thus helping to maintain healthier blood pressure and blood sugar levels when consumed. Moreover, the soy cream soup has a higher calcium content than similar commercial products.
The future of these products
The team creating some of the products
The food prototypes were developed later as part of a Final Year Project by another group of students as part of their Diploma in Biotechnology from Republic Polytechnic’s School of Applied Science.
The four-man team spent most of their time during the post-circuit breaker period enhancing their food formulation experiments to turn the soy pulp processing idea into a reality. And now, the team is looking to commercialise their technology and recipes for the products.
With increasing popularity for plant-based products as well as food sustainability, we do hope that these cheeses and cream soup powder will eventually hit the stores!
Images: Republic Polytechnic