Cereal based yogurt-like product offers prospect of extended vegetarian range

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

It looks like yogurt, and it tastes like yogurt, but...
It looks like yogurt, and it tastes like yogurt, but...

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A fermented yogurt-like product formulated from cereal, soy flour and grape may have a texture and sensory profile like its dairy equivalent, but offer a vegan option for consumers, suggests new research.

Scientists from the University of Bari in Italy report that a fermented beverage made with a mixture of rice and barley or emmer flours matched a dairy yogurt for “textural, nutritional and sensory properties”​.

The research, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology​, taps into the growing market demand for “non-dairy beverages, with high acceptance and functionality”​, said the researchers, led by Raffaella Di Cagno.

According to a study by Leatherhead Food Research, the dairy-free and lactose-free segment is pegged as the largest across the Western European and US markets, worth US$3.6bn in 2010.

The University of Bari study represents the first combination of “cereal and soy flours and concentrated grape must for the manufacture of novel non-dairy yogurt-like beverages”​, they added.

Formulation details

Di Cagno and her co-workers selected two Lactobacillus plantarum​ as starter cultures for the fermentation of their cereal-based yogurt-like beverages.

Various cereals were used as the base, including rice, barley, emmer and oat, and used in combination with soy flours and concentrated red grape must.

The resulting beverages were found to have a pH lower than 4.0, had high viscosity values, and had favorable nutritional profiles with higher vitamin C, polyphenol, and free amino acid levels than a cereal-based beverage made without the addition of the starter cultures.

The best results, in terms of textural, nutritional and sensory properties were recorded for beverages made with the mixture of rice and barley or emmer flours, said the researchers.

“Although vegetable beverages from the market are mainly soy- or oat-based, under our experimental conditions [vegetable yogurt-like beverages] made with the mixture of rice and barley or emmer flours seem to possess the best combination of textural, nutritional and sensory properties.”

Source: International Journal of Food Microbiology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2012.01.016
“Yogurt-like beverages made of a mixture of cereals, soy and grape must: Microbiology, texture, nutritional and sensory properties”
Authors: R. Coda, A. Lanera, A. Trani, M. Gobbetti, R. Di Cagno

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