From waste to taste

Published: 04-01-2016, | Member: Vika

Ingredient supplier Vika has more than 50 years of experience in turning food waste into first-grade new applications. One ingredient Vika supplies is cheese powder made from cheese that is not suitable for direct sale to consumers.

Sustainability is in Vika’s DNA, as innovation manager Lucien Montulet says. “The family owned company started out trading cheese in Mijdrecht. The owners’ three sons were looking for ways to use the cheese that couldn’t be sold, and found the answer in grating and powdering. They were quite successful and soon had to add a new production facility for processed cheese.”

Cheese production and sales inevitably leads to some product that is not fit for direct consumption, but that is still excellent for grating, melting and powdering for use in other applications. “It’s very sustainable to create a new product like cheese powder from this ‘waste’,” Montulet explains. “The industry uses cheese powder for savory applications like crisps and biscuits. But cheese powder can also be added to instant mashed potatoes for extra flavor. Vika produces cheese powder on two locations and exports to countries all over the world.”

Vika’s head office is in Ede, in the middle of the Netherlands. Vika has grown into a worldwide supplier of cheese powder, processed cheese, grated cheese and cheese replacers as well as stock pastes and bouillon powders. Apart from its production and R&D facilities in Ede, Vika has subsidiaries in Belgium, England, Italy and New Zealand.

Preventing cheese waste was the start of Vika’s active interest in sustainability. Today the firm is taking a series of measures to make its Ede premises energy-neutral, including the installation of a cogeneration facility for the combined production of heat and power. Vika is also collaborating with other businesses on innovation. “We’re partnering more and more,” Montulet concludes. “With NIZO food research, our neighbors here in Ede, for instance. Innovation is a matter of collaborating: with customers, with research institutes and, wherever possible, with other businesses.”