Germany: Startup Saccha turns spent brewer’s yeast into meat alternatives

Vegan substitutes such as protein powders, meat substitutes and cheese substitutes taste humble because plant-based proteins are used in their production that are not able to replace animal ones. German startup Saccha claims now to have solved this problem by offering the first proteins made from microorganisms such as brewer's yeast.

“The products are like egg protein, but without the chicken,” says Saccha. In addition it avoids all the negative effects associated with modern animal production. The innovative brewer's yeast proteins combine a positive flavor profile with the functionality known from egg whites for baking, and they are also a high-quality protein source for muscle building. The company's brewer's yeast protein in combination with its brewer's yeast texturate helps manufacturers of meat alternatives to ensure that their alternative product looks, tastes and acts like real minced meat.

“I, as a consumer, am still faced with products full of additives, like methylcellulose. The biotechnologist in me wonders why. And the reason is that plant based proteins used for the production … are clearly inferior to animal proteins … in terms of functionality, conversion to muscle, and taste,” said Saccha’s co-founder Christoph Pitter recently at the Food and Ingredients in Frankfurt, Germany.

The brewer's yeast produced in Germany alone is enough to supply 6 million people with protein all year round, or just under 10% of the protein needs of every single German. Add to this the fact that brewer's yeast protein uses 250 times less water and 400 times less arable land, as well as emitting 85 times less CO2, compared to conventional proteins from beef.

By adding the "clean label" and profiting from the good image of brewer's yeast, manufacturers of meat alternatives are able to increase customer acceptance and to better market their products, says Saccha.

Saccha was founded in 2020 by Christoph Pitter and Michael Baunach. The name of the company is derived from Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, the Latin name for brewer's yeast.

Currently, Saccha is supported by the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences and the EXIST grant. The founders are looking for investors to scale up the developed process. The first pilot-scale production of brewer's yeast protein is planned for early 2022. Subsequently, the process is to be scaled up to production scale as quickly as possible in order to bring the first meat alternatives made from brewer's yeast protein to supermarkets together with the partners.

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