Rather than spreadable chocolate, future consumers will perhaps be spreading a bean-based paste on their toast. This is thanks to a group of innovative students in Food Technology at Lund University, who recently developed a bean paste called Le Cobean.
Healthier, tastier and eco-friendly – these are some of the arguments supporting the bean-based spread. The students came up with the idea for the paste in connection with an assignment as part of a final project on a course at the Department of Food Technology. The assignment was to create exciting and healthy food innovations from beans – something which is in demand by the farmers’ association Lantmännen among others.
“Today there are several products on the market that contain beans and we believe we could offer many more. It is a fine agricultural product which we can cultivate in Sweden, and is both healthy and tasty”, says Emma Nordell who works at the research department of Innovation & Business Development at Lantmännen.
The students worked for three months under the management of Professor Federico Gómez at the Department of Food Technology. The result was a spreadable fibre-rich bean paste containing 11% sugar, compared to traditional spreads like chocolate which usually contains about 50% sugar and 40% fat. Apart from being a sandwich spread, it could also be used on pancakes, as a muffin topping, etc.
“We gave the paste a flavour of cocoa, coffee and vanilla. It is clearly healthier than regular chocolate spreads and we believe that Le Cobean could be really successful on the market”, says Emelie Olsson, who is behind the paste, along with María Elena Vicente Damas, Revekka Papaioannou, Monisha Pradeep, Katarina Birtle, Gayatri Rajashekhar Dhulappanavar, Ferawati Ferawati and Charles Keronika.
Since the paste was developed for a course at the Faculty of Engineering, it is unclear whether and when the Nutella-like bean spread could be launched on the market. Most likely it will, with the help of one of the collaborative partners of the student project – Lantmännen and LU Innovation.
Learn more: Food Technology and Nutrition Master's Programme