Vegan alternative to milk fat wins Protein Challenge

The finale of WUR’s ReThink Protein Challenge is won by two student teams.
The winners were announced via a live stream. Photo Guy Ackermans

The second edition of this challenge has been won by Team Cultivated (best prototype) and Team AlgO (best business plan).

Team Cultivated uses precision yeast fermentation to produce plant-based fats that are identical to milk fat, making it possible for plant-based protein products to resemble real dairy products much more closely. Although these fats are not a direct source of protein, the jury was convinced that this could be a game changer for the protein transition.

AlgO wants to use the millions of litres of wastewater from the food and beverages industry to cultivate microalgae. These microalgae rescue the nutrients from the wastewater and can then be used to make new food products. By opting for a mobile facility in a container, AlgO’s concept can easily be brought to any waste stream, says the jury.

Prototyping and Ideation

A total of 49 teams of students from 41 universities in 18 countries took part in the challenge. Twelve teams were picked to compete in the final round: six in the prototyping category (prize money for the winner: 6000 euros), and six in the ideation category (prize money for the winner: 3000 euros). Besides the prize money, the winners also get support to further develop their projects. Numbers two and three in each category also get some prize money and support.

For more information about the projects, go to

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