‘Hemp’ is becoming a common medicinal plant which is able to add value and develop into a wide range of food and beverage industries.
Similarly to ‘Hody Cheese’, plant-based cheddar cheese from hemp seeds, the work of the 3HC team that won the 2nd runner-up award from the Food Innopolis Contest 2021 in the Light Weight category under the topic of Future Lifestyle Food Innovation is as well selecting hemp seeds to use and develop into “Vegan Cheese” product, an innovated alternative food choice for the future living.
The 3HC team member consists of students from the School of Gloal Studies, Thammasat University and students from the Faculty of Science and Technology, Thammasat University which are, Mr. Makhawee Sukhawattano, Mr. Rak Phatthabhakdi, Ms. Nicharee Lohakijja, Ms. Nichakarn Boonsin, Mr. Chakaphong Thepchana and Mr. Phuriphat Sivaworavet, with Dr. Supattra Suphawong as the team advisor.
Mr. Makhawee Sukhawattano, a member of the 3HC team, said that he is personally interested in hemp, therefore chose to initiate a project that is associated with hemp. Both creating the hemp development project with Hmong people, trading hemp fibers with Hmong people and having the opportunity to attend student exchange program in Japan where he traded hemp fibers with the Japanese. He noticed that hemp can be processed into food, he then discussed with the professors at the Faculty of Science and Technology. The project to develop a plant-based cheddar cheese from hemp seeds was therefore established.
‘Hody Cheese’, plant-based cheddar cheese from hemp seeds is unique from regular vegan cheese in that it has a distinct aroma with soft and chewy texture, likewise cheese made from animal milk. When baked, it can stretch exactly like real cheese. It is also high in protein as hemp seeds contain more than 30% protein in every 100 gram of weight, containing omega 3, 6, 9, that are supportive to brain, nerves, and also has antioxidants that help slowing down skin deterioration.
Ms. Nicharee Lohakijj further explained that because hemp is relatively new to Thailand, at first, there were some legal issues and had not enough supporting information. When developing the product, we were required to study the process of curdling, proper protein extraction temperature, and having had to keep experimenting. When the temperature is too high, proteins will precipitate into turbid lumps which continuous development were necessary, taking us approximately one year to develop into tangible product over the course of the competition.
Mr. Makhawee added that hemp is interesting and that the market continues to enlarge. Currently, ‘Hody Cheese’ is reaching out to companies and seek for partnership to produce their actual product with a target group of vegetarian and clean food restaurants, the price is set at about 240 Thai Baht per 10 pieces, weighing about 10-15 grams per piece which when compared to the market price, it is cheaper than imported cheese.