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Introducing SousZen

See how Xinova partners with PepsiCo and Innit to launch the new Seattle restaurant tech startup, SousZen, that aims to digitize ‘back of house’.

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During this 30-minute webinar, IDM Shivani Ludwig Ph.D. described the problem being addressed and the scope of this RFI. As always, there was a Q&A after the main presentation. 

Xinova would like to produce plant protein-based snack foods to meet consumer demand for healthy snacks. The current technology uses a high-moisture extrusion process on plant proteins to create a fibrous structure that improves texture and resembles meat. Meat substitutes produced in this way can be subsequently dried to form jerky, a healthy, on-the-go snack food appealing to consumers. In addition, increasing plant-protein consumption reduces meat consumption, which reduces green-house-gas emissions, animal wastes, and fertilizer usage while conserving water.

However, plant protein extrudates are challenging to flavor. They can have an unappealing flavor and mouthfeel, which encompasses properties such as astringency, grittiness, aftertaste, and dryness of the mouth. Flavor and mouthfeel work together to form an overall taste.

Suitable vegetable flavorings are available that can greatly improve the overall taste of plant-based proteins. Such flavors can come in the form of powders, oil or water solutions, or pastes in fat or starch. Regardless of the flavor form used, it remains a challenge to adequately treat their extrudates at a commercial scale so that they absorb flavor and have good mouthfeel.


Protein ingredients are being used to develop new products, such as protein beverages and extruded foods. The ingredients add both nutritional value and functionality to foods and beverages. Important nutritional properties of it include a balanced amino acid profile (see below), while important functional properties include solubility and gelation, and foaming or emulsification abilities. The most common protein source for food and beverage products is dairy, which includes whey, casein, and milk protein concentrate. 

Interested in applying to solve problems related to the plan-based protein problems that Xinova is facing. 

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