Sports drink and egg protein-based meat substitutesPublished: 11-04-2016, | Member: Van den Beuken Eiprodukten
Chicken eggs offer countless possibilities for food innovations. Van den Beuken Egg Products is using egg protein to develop a sports drink and meat replacements. “We’re just getting started, there are many more innovations to come,” says Managing Director Marco van den Beuken.
Van den Beuken Egg Products is one of the smaller egg processing and egg product companies in the Netherlands. During a recent avian flu epidemic, the business transformed itself from a traditional poultry farm to a modern chicken egg processing facility. Van den Beuken explains. “Because of the epidemic, our sheds were empty. It was a blessing in disguise. We decided to start looking into egg processing. Another contributing factor was that we couldn’t expand our farming activities because we’re located in a nature reserve.”
Van den Beuken’s first product was a mild advocaat, an egg liqueur akin to egg nog. Van den Beuken’s advocaat tastes different than the traditional Dutch variety and is available in three flavors: natural, amaretto and banana. The product is available in tubs for the bakery industry and in small bottles for local stores. There is also a bonbon with Van den Beuken advocaat.
“In developing our advocaat we’ve gained experience formulating new products. We can leverage that knowledge to develop other products. One thing we’ve learned is that product stability is an issue when you work with eggs,” says Van den Beuken. “Based on what we’ve learned from making advocaat, I’m now working on a protein-rich sports drink. This is a response to a question I received from a personal trainer, who is coaching a top-level athlete who doesn’t eat well and therefore didn’t ingest enough vital nutrients.”
Taste, stability and food safety are the biggest challenges in developing an egg protein-based sports drink. “Creating a good flavor is complicated”, Van den Beuken says. “If you add raspberry or blueberry juice, you get a drink that tastes good, but doesn’t look right. The color’s all wrong. Adding apple juice produces a better, more attractive result. Egg protein needs to be acidified to give it a safe pH. You can use citric acid for this. We aim to create an all-natural product and we don’t add any artificial sugars.”
The sports drink contains 20 grams of protein per portion. “That’s exactly the amount of protein your body can ingest in one go,” says Van den Beuken. “The beauty of egg protein is that it so closely resembles human protein. That makes it suitable not only for athletes, but also for people recuperating from illness.”
Van den Beuken is well on the way towards launching the product. “We’re working on a patent and we’ve done challenge tests to determine the product’s shelf life. The shelf life is looking excellent; 21 days is no problem at all. Currently, we’re talking to various parties about bringing it to market. We have to reach an agreement about production volumes, for one thing, to ensure there’s enough product available after launch.”
Barbecue products and pudding
In addition to drinks, the company is also developing other egg-based products, Van den Beuken explains. “We’re working on barbecue products. And we’re developing a pudding, for which we’re using the yolks that are left over from manufacturing our sports drink.”
“We’re a relatively small player,” says Van den Beuken. “For the foreseeable future, we’ll be focusing on further developing our current product range. Collaboration with other businesses is very important in that respect. We’re going to market our product under our own name. But we’re open to negotiating private label contracts as well.”