FNA FOOD AND BEVERAGE TRAILBLAZERS EPISODE 33
‘Anything dairy can do, we can do too’: Could sesame milk be Asia’s mainstream milk alternative?
Thailand-based Sesamilk has its roots in the sesame seed hulling and processing sector, with CEO Siripen Suntornmonkongsri moving to develop the potential of sesame seeds as an FMCG ready-to-drink beverage product together with R&D backing from Bangkok’s King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
The firm has developed sesame milk variants from both white and black sesame seeds, and at this stage Suntornmonkongsri is now confident that these products can replace conventional dairy milk in most everyday applications.
“Basically, anything that dairy can do, we can do it too,” she told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“Sesamilk can already be used to replace dairy in common beverages like coffees and teas, and we have already developed ice cream using it as well.
“It is also now able to replace coconut milk [which some consumers might want to avoid due to cholesterol concerns], as we have successfully used this in curries and desserts to replace coconut milk.
“Our plans for future are very vertical, and our ambition is to be specialised and professional in sesame and sesame alone, so all of our focus will be on this area.”
She added that sesame has strong potential to become Asia’s next big dairy alternative ingredient as it has the health and sustainable characteristics that can elevate it to that next level, citing sesamin as a major contributor to this.
“Sesamin is a lignan (a type of polyphenol) that is found only in sesame seeds, and is known to confer significant benefits to the human body in terms of balancing out hormones and other functions,” said Suntornmonkongsri.
“Studies have shown that sesame consumption can provide health benefits to the heart, brain, bones, immunity, blood pressure and more.
“The sustainability benefits are also significant – sesame is a very drought-resistant crop compared to almond, oat or soy and needs very little water for growth and cultivation, about 22% less compared to soy.
“This makes it very suitable for cultivation in hot countries in Asia such as Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, India and more.”
At present, the firm is also working with plant-based meat alternative firms to develop gravies and sauces made with sesame milk, as well as with local farmers to ensure a steady source of ingredients to avoid any price hikes for its products.
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