There are a lot of amazing things being done in the food world today, especially in the plant-based sector. There are innovators who have succeeded in replicating animal tissue for meat using stem cells. There is now a plant-based burger that cooks like real meat and another that is so realistic it is blowing the minds of some of the most famous chefs in the industry. Technology and ingenuity sure have accelerated innovation in the plant-based food sector. However, not all new food innovations are based out of labs or require out-of-the-ordinary ingredients. PotatoMagic, for example, is an Australian research and development business that has figured out a way to transform potatoes into all sorts of comforting foods, from cheese and dips to custard and ice cream. And they’re doing it without the use of dairy!

The versatile potato product, named Chato, is formed by taking potatoes and forming them into pure or blended liquids, blocks, bars, and other shapes, which are then available for use by manufacturers or wholesalers as a ready-to-eat potato, cheese substitute, or manufacturing feed stock. The potato is also extremely resilient and does not require water to be cooked. Because of this, the potato can be used in disaster relief situations, can feed army troops in overseas operations, and even home cooks can take it out from the pantry after a year in storage and use it without worry.

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While potatoes are associated with a lot of unhealthy dishes like french fries and chips, Chato offers a much healthier option. Andrew Dyhin, the chairman and chief executive of PotatoMagic shares in an interview with FoodNavigator, that when Chato is fortified with calcium, the potato ingredient transforms into a dairy alternative that can nutritionally go toe to toe with cow’s milk. Considering that cow’s milk nowadays is ridden with antibiotics and hormones, even without the fortification, Chato is definitely a cleaner alternative. And we’re seeing now more than ever, that consumers are seeking healthier, dairy-free, and vegan products.

The process of making Chato is also much better for the environment than the process of making milk and cheese. On dairy farms, millions of gallons of water are used to clean the facilities, hydrate the cows, and clean equipment, a need that is non-existent for PotatoMagic. Considering that potatoes are not beings that have to defecate, take up valuable land, or emit harmful gases into our environment – Chato offers a much more environmentally-friendly alternative for people who still want to get their fix of ice cream and cheese. Plus, Chato offers a much-needed solution to the potato waste problem in Australia, where hundreds of thousands of potatoes are reportedly wasted each year.

Chato won’t be available on the market just yet, Dyhin predicts a launch in two years, but we wait anxiously to try it! After all, seeing innovators get creative and craft products that are not only exciting for our taste buds but good for our planet, is what we’re all about. PotatoMagic has the potential to be yet another positive step in the future of food and is another way we can all contribute to repairing our broken food system.

Lead image source: Artem Shadrin/Shutterstock