Valuable ingredients from mushroomsPublished: 12-02-2016, | Member: Scelta Mushrooms
New ingredients extracted from mushrooms can be used to decrease salt content, enrich products with vitamin D or boost the immune system. To take full advantage of mushrooms’ possibilities, Scelta Mushrooms has created a ‘biometric passport’ of them. “Mushrooms contain thousands of valuable ingredients. We’ve only uncovered the tip of the iceberg.”
Scelta Mushrooms began as a mushroom grower and cannery in the 1960s. The company’s business gradually shifted from production to trade, so processing and preserving became more important. Today, it is an international company with six production partners. Scelta Mushrooms is in charge of central sales, marketing and R&D. It is a global leader in mushroom products, including frozen mushrooms, preserved mushrooms, mushroom-based snacks, concentrates and ingredients. Scelta Mushrooms is also a family business. Jan Klerken Jr. (Flavour Maker) and his brother Jules Klerken (Sales) are the third generation working for the company. Their father, Jan Klerken Sr. (General Manager), is still active for Scelta Mushrooms.
The R&D team at Scelta Mushrooms is continually working on new solutions for the food industry. Last year, they launched an innovative sodium replacer called the Scelta Taste Accelerator. “It’s an all-natural, umami-rich mushroom extract,” says Jan Klerken Jr. “It’s clean label and a great alternative for MSG/I+G/AYE. Our Scelta Taste Accelerator is already being used in soups, sauces, ready-to-eat meals, bread, crackers, nuts and potato chips. And we’re busy exploring its technical functionalities to see if it’s suitable for other food products too.” Scelta Taste Accelerator received accolades at the 2015 Food Ingredients Europe in Paris last December. It was crowned ‘Best Functional Innovation’ and declared overall winner of the ‘Most Innovative Food Ingredient’ prize.
Innovation is a precondition for survival in Scelta Mushrooms’ view. Klerken Jr. says the company’s future depends on it. “Apart from your ‘cash flow’ products, you need products that set your company apart. We’ve joined forces with others to develop new knowledge. To this end, we founded The Scelta Institute in 2008. This is where we gather experts from different fields to develop new solutions for the future.”
One project initiated by The Scelta Institute was to draw up a comprehensive list of the valuable ingredients found in mushrooms. “A scientist compiled a biometric passport of several types of mushroom,” Klerken Jr. explains. “That resulted in a hefty 20 pages of information. We learned that mushrooms contain promising substances like chitin, mannitol and glutamate. And that the almond mushroom may have beneficial properties. It contains beta glucans, known for boosting the immune system. And we’re exploring more options.”
Apart from innovation, Scelta Mushrooms has an eye for corporate social responsibility (CSR). The company upgrades side streams from its mushroom processing activities to new products. “One great example is the water used to parboil the mushrooms. That water contains all sorts of valuable compounds. We extract those and then we use the residual water to clean the cookers.”
“We’re constantly developing new products and applications. At the Scelta Institute, we work on new formulations and tastes, preferably in collaboration with third parties. Our products are all-natural and health benefits are high on our agenda. We’ve worked with quite a few flavor specialists and had some successes,” Klerken Jr. concludes proudly.
On 1 March 2016, Scelta Mushrooms will host a members-only event for Food Valley Society members. For more information, please contact Rowena Kleijwegt at Food Valley NL.