What is nutritional yeast?
Nutritional yeast is made from a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that is grown on molasses and is consumed for its nutritional value. It is then washed and subject to pasteurisation and drying to make it inactive.
American and European supermarket shelves are now brimming with nutritional yeast, or “Nooch” as they call it in the United States, a food trend that has been around for quite some time. The market saw a significant increase of 36% in 20201, mostly in Europe and the United States, and is forecast to grow worldwide at an average of 13% per annum through 20272.
The newest form of nutritional yeast
After three years of work, Gnosis by Lesaffre created the Noochy Crisp™ in an effort to respond to the consumer craze for nutritional yeast. The project was carried out as part of a cross-site collaboration, between several teams across the Lesaffre group and the Gnosis by Lesaffre team at the Biospringer production facility in Maisons-Alfort (France). Gnosis by Lesaffre innovated by creating the first extruded nutritional yeast formed into small pellets, offering customers new ways of consuming this type of yeast. For instance, Noochy Crisp™ can be marketed as such and added to soups or salads, just like using croutons. Noochy Crisp™ offers the advantage of being a healthier option, a non-fried food product with a crispy texture. It can also be incorporated into muesli and consumed for breakfast, or into an appetiser or a snack to give consumers all the macro and micronutrients they need. Noochy Crisp™ can also be used in cereal bars. Noochy Crisp™ is an innovative quality product that won the Best Tasting Functional Food Award at the Vitafoods Europe event held in October.
A nutritional profile to suit modern taste
There is a reason why nutritional yeast is making a huge comeback in developed countries, and that’s to address a number of growing concerns among consumers. Nutritional yeast is a great source of protein that has long been known for being popular with vegetarians. About 5% of the world’s population are now vegetarians while about 22% of Europeans3 are flexitarians (people who occasionally eat meat).
Consumers are also looking for the healthiest food products. Several them consider nutritional yeast a ‘superfood’, which explains why so many people incorporate it into their meals. Noochy Crisp™ scored an ‘A’ on the Nutri-Score five-letter scale (the European nutrition label), which is the best possible score a product can receive. It has an interesting nutritional profile that consists of nutrients such as zinc, which has proven effective for increasing immune activity, potassium, iron, magnesium, fibres and proteins. Plus, Noochy Crisp™ is compatible with gluten-free and kosher diets, free from GMOs and allergens, and low in salt.
A low carbon footprint
And finally, Noochy Crisp™ has a limited environmental footprint. Sugarcane molasses (a byproduct of the sugar factory) is used as a raw material to produce nutritional yeast. Yeast production requires less water, less farmland and results in lower GHG emissions than other products, such as soy or beef. Consumers are growing more and more concerned about how food is produced and are increasingly aware of the environmental footprint of their diets.
1 Gnosis by Lesaffre/Lesaffre in-house analysis
2 Credence research
3 European Food Report