Sep 21 2023

WOVO, an (Egg-Based) White Revolution

This product, created in Galicia, is made from egg white and aims to shake up those drinks and desserts that are traditionally dairy with a high value protein, suitable for athletes, people who are lactose intolerant, and flexitarians

At the last edition of Salón Gourmets Madrid, one of the most important agri-food sector fairs in Spain, WOVO Passion Fruit Pudding won first place in the Innovation category. This award recognized the efforts of the company Campomayor, with more than 80 years of experience in the egg sector and, above all, an interest in creating a totally new product.

WOVO's award-winning pudding is truly novel: it could be considered a yoghurt, but in reality it contains no dairy at all. This is a product with attractive packaging and with "a high biological value protein with the essential amino acids naturally present. It's also fat-free, gluten-free, and has no added sugar. If someone is looking for healthy alternatives that also contain all of the above, here they have the holy grail," says Pérez Forneas.

"This is a very disruptive project for which we have created a spin-off within Campomayor called Mundo Healthy through which we will experiment with products derived from eggs," explains Sofía Pérez Fórneas, the company's Business and Growth Director.

The awarded passion fruit pudding is part of WOVO, which comprises two product lines: fermented puddings, which includes original flavor as well as others with passion fruit and strawberries, and drinks, in flavors like original and with cocoa. The former require refrigeration but the latter do not.

Campomayor has also been successful to identify the target public that would find these dairy-free beverages and puddings appealing. "We knew that there were sports-minded consumers who would have access to a high-quality protein product and that it would also appeal to people who are allergic to milk and lactose intolerant... Finally, we realized that we can also connect with flexitarians, so we tried to make the approach as mainstream as possible."

From low-temperature egg to WOVO

The development of WOVO project dates back to 2018. In that year Campomayor's low-temperature egg was the big winner at Alimentaria 2018. "It was the first product to receive five of the 17 innovation awards given out at that competition. That's when we realized that we were doing R&D. Until that moment, we weren't aware of it."

"The next step came the same year, when María García, the company's CEO, read an article about a project by chef Mario Sandoval and Marta Miguel from Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, a State Agency for scientific research and technological development with the mission to promote, coordinate, develop and disseminate scientific and technological multidisciplinary research) on egg protein fragmentation for making different products. This discovery was already presented at the 2013 edition of Madrid Fusión, another major event in Spain's food & beverage industry. In short, the procedure allowed the chef to obtain a product from a pasteurized egg white with an enzyme that breaks proteins into smaller fragments, a process called hydrolysis.

"Campomayor was able to achieve the license -holding exclusive wold rights- of this patent to incorporate it into different products. Then they decided to create a BTC (business to customer) product for the end customer. That's where all the efforts to bring WOVO to market came from," says Pérez Fórneas.

She also explains that this work "is best done with a partner." And that's why the work was done in collaboration with CSIC as well as with the University of Santiago de Compostela and entities like AINIA, a technology center that collaborates with companies and has more than three decades of experience. "You have to bear in mind that you're creating a new ingredient, so you have challenges both at the technological level and at the formulation level of final product,” she adds.

A challenging process

The biggest challenge, according to Pérez Forneas, was the "industrial scale-up." The company had to "convert the processes that were being carried out in a laboratory to large-scale production.” Since its presentation in the spring of 2023—after four years of intense work—it has been recognized at Salón Gourmets, it received the innovation Cluster Alimentación de Galicia Award, and it was a finalist in the 2023 Innovation Awards at Food 4 Future Bilbao. The future? "Of course, it involves expanding the WOVO family as well as applying this process of fragmenting egg white protein to use it in other products." WOVO was created "for true nonconformists," according to the company's website. That same non-conformism is what made it possible for Campomayor to shake up the food industry: the result is WOW(o)!