Quality food is important for everyone’s health. You always want the products on the table to be both tasty and healthy. This is exactly what Belarusian scientists are striving for when working on new recipes. From meat and dairy products to confectionery products, attention is paid to everything.
How new recipes are created
The Scientific and Practical Center for Food was established in 2006 on the basis of the BelNII of Food Products, the Institute of the Meat and Dairy Industry and Beltechnokhleb. SPC scientists create food production technologies for factories. They work with almost all enterprises – both public and private, very large and small. They also work with farms, for example, on the technology of drying dried fruits.
As Aleksey Meleshchenya, General Director of the Scientific and Practical Center for Food of the National Academy of Sciences, noted, about 100 new recipes are transferred to enterprises every year.
But this process is long and laborious. First, theoretical studies are carried out, the composition is selected, then they try to do it in practice, they look at how the ingredients correlate with each other, whether it tastes good. Then the composition is checked in the testing laboratory – whether it meets the basic requirements. “This is creative work, but it can be routine.
Belarus has found itself in difficult conditions over the past year due to sanctions pressure. But import substitution was relevant even before – scientists, together with enterprises, sought to offer Belarusians domestic food products for every taste. “Different types of cheeses have been developed – with white and blue mold, such as parmesan.
A lot of work has also been done on meat, there are production technologies, for example, jamon. Import substitution is also paid great attention in the confectionery industry, the same bars are developed and produced. We try our best choose domestic raw materials, a recipe that meets the requirements of the Ministry of Health in terms of the ratio of various components – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, their qualitative composition,” Aleksey Meleshchenya emphasized.
According to him, the development of modified starches is now of particular importance. “Previously, the main producers were the European Union, partly the Russian Federation and Ukraine, in recent years they have begun to buy more from China. But, as practice has shown, we need to do our own thing.
Today our factories are actively working with us to create new types of modified starches, primarily for the food industry. This is not a GMO, this is an extrusion modification or by means of chemical splitting. We want to get the first results on food modified starches by the end of 2023,” the CEO shared his plans.
In addition, in recent years, scientists have worked very closely with Belorusneft on the use of modified starches in well drilling. “They used to buy quite expensive imported starches for these purposes, but today our factories already almost completely meet their needs and supply such starches for export to the Russian Federation,” Alexey Meleshchenya added.
In addition, a number of new import-substituting sauces have appeared. They are produced by different enterprises, and such sauces are already on the shelves, and export supplies are also being made.
“We were able to replace palm and sunflower oil in biscuits with rapeseed oil. We got a very interesting result. We also improved a number of other recipes with the replacement for Belarusian rapeseed oil. Its consumption in industry in 2022 alone increased by almost 40%. It is now used where not used before, the replacement was carried out without loss of taste characteristics,” the CEO noted.
A number of new starter cultures have been developed on the basis of the Institute of Meat and Dairy Industry for import substitution.
Products for athletes and vegetarians
According to Dmitry Zaichenko, Deputy General Director for Scientific and Innovative Work of the Scientific and Practical Center for Food, scientists are now implementing a joint project with the Ministry of Sports. “We plan to develop a line of products with a high protein content for athletes and for people who experience increased physical activity.
The products will differ significantly for different groups of athletes. If these are heavyweights who need explosive power, then they need products that are quickly digested and provide energy If these are marathon runners, then on the contrary, they need food that gradually replenishes their energy reserves,” he informed.
Products for vegetarians are also being created, including drinks made from oat and buckwheat raw materials, the so-called non-milk.
Also, scientists have developed low-protein products for patients with phenylketonuria, including pasta, mixes for making muffins, etc.
In general, scientists strive to produce useful products for a variety of consumers. “Among the new products, which, we hope, will become more widespread next year, are ice cream with a reduced sugar content, a number of types of fermented milk products with new recipes,” the CEO said.
The journalists were also shown direct-pressed juices without added sugar. A sausage has also been developed with a low salt content, but with a classic taste due to natural spicy and aromatic additives.
Curiously, scientists also showed low-protein snacks, french fries made with a reduced oil content.
The SPC for Food, among other things, ensures the quality control of raw materials and food products in accordance with the requirements of standards, as well as the safety and authenticity of food products when they are released from production and when they are imported into the country.
The laboratory of the republican control and testing complex is accredited and can analyze about 90% of the normalized indicators for all types of food products. Before reaching the counter, food products are carefully checked. Scientists determine the fatty acid composition, the presence of dyes, flavors, pesticides, and also study the indicators of carcinogenicity of products.