New DSM enzyme can reduce oat milk production time, resulting in cost and sustainability wins

The popularity of plant-based milk alternatives has pushed the global oat-based milk market into rapid expansion. The segment, which was valued at US$155m in 2018, climbed to a value of US$2.23bn in 2020. According to Grand View Research, the oat milk market will grow at CAGR 14.2% to 2028, growing at a faster rate than soy, the market-share leader among plant-based beverages.

Part of the appeal of oat-based milk lies in its fuller, creamier texture compared to other alt milks; a flavor profile not entirely dissimilar to dairy milk, and environmental credentials that are hard to beat even by several other plant-based alternatives.

Yet, production of 1L of oat milk still requires around 48L of water compared to 28L for soy, whilst the process of hydrolysis through which the beverage is developed requires two distinct stages – liquefaction, which involves breaking down oat starches into dextrins, and saccharification, where the dextrins are then broken down further into glucose. The two processes typically require different temperatures and can take around three hours in total, not counting recovery time.

But a new enzyme developed by DSM can complete the two processes in a single step, reducing hydrolysis time by 30%. Delvo Plant Go, part of the company’s enzyme portfolio, has been specifically designed for oat-based drinks manufacture and cannot be used for developing other dairy milk alternatives. It doesn’t impact the taste or texture of the final product – particularly important to manufacturers, who have to carefully choose the right enzyme or enzyme combinations as to not adversely affect beverage traits such as viscosity, mouthfeel and flavor in oat beverages. The new solution also supports organic and GMO-free formulations.

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