Innovations with raw food

For your health and taste-buds: “Vitasprosse” factory in Saxony-Anhalt produces tasty healthy food

Production Manager Heidrun Neuschulz rolls the fruit dough over a template with a rolling pin. Then she punches out little hearts – and hands over a sample, before carrying on with the “real manual work”. The shiny orange heart is a sweet taste sensation, and a healthy temptation into the bargain. They contain dates, cashew kernels, goji berries, cedar nuts and pistachios – the words “vegan” and “gluten-free” appear on the labels that carry the name of the factory far out into the country: “Vitasprosse – gluten-free healthy food”. The company was founded a year ago in the municipality of Beetzendorf in the Altmark.

Fruit bread, poppy-seed cake, buckwheat biscuits, tart and pizza bases or breakfast muesli – everything stored in the high-stacked shelves of “Vitasprosse” is “organic” and above all: it is of raw food quality. The provider of ideas for the many recipes from which the handmade healthy food is created, is Iris Herting, an academically trained ecotrophologist and nutritional scientist. The 25-year-old entrepreneur works as a nutritional therapist for chronically ill patients: it is well-known that diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatism and allergies – the so-called diseases of civilisation – are often products of our modern way of life. There is growing awareness that recovery can be decisively influenced by nutrition, says the expert. She has already observed the positive effect of vegetable-based cuisine on human health for many years, she says. Her special interest is in the raw food form of nutrition – without refined sugar, oils or animal additives. The products, or meals, made of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices are only heated up to 42 degrees in their production, in order not to destroy the enzymes, nutrients and proteins that they contain.

“Today’s human has moved very far away from his original feeding habits”, says the nutritional therapist. A trend towards a healthy lifestyle is becoming noticeable, however. And many possibilities for driving this development forward are opening with the still “young” raw food market.

According to the observations of the global market research company Mintel, Germany is the pioneer as far as innovations in raw food are concerned. Iris Herting first tries out her culinary creations in her home cooking , and then the taste buds of the “Vitasprosse” team get a chance to have their say.

The nutritional scientist gathered important technical experience in Southern Germany at the company “Vitakeim”, a producer of vegan organic food. “Vitasprosse” has taken over the healthy approach expressed in this name: “Cereal and seeds are processed in a germinated state. This way they are more tolerable for the body. In addition to this, the proportion of vital materials increases at germination”, explains Iris Herting and offers one of her new creations for tasting: crackers made of sunflower seed, hemp, carrot and linseed.

The young native of Saxony-Anhalt has chosen her home municipality of Beetzendorft as her work site, and has also found like-minded souls here. Her vital alliance also includes the backers and associates Dirk Stehr and Ines Fahrenkamp. The first was on the lookout for a good idea with which to fill the empty market hall in the village. As the Managing Director of Altmärker Solarstrom GmbH, it goes without saying that he is very committed to the holistic environmental idea. Since one year ago – under a solar roof and with the use of renewable energy – fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and shoots are dried or desiccated, ground, kibbled or crushed in a mixer and turned into true culinary delights. “Raw food can be deliciously prepared and also presented so that it is attractive to the eye”, raves partner Ines Fahrenkamp. When this kind of taste experience can still adorn itself with the word “healthy”, then that is something wonderful, she says.

The sweet schoca specialities made from cocoa butter and carob powder – from the legumes of the carob tree – are indeed very special. With the addition of coconut, almonds, figs, dates, raisins and sour cherries, “Vitasprosse” creates true delicacies as an alternative to unhealthy snacks.

Consumer demand for raw chocolate is growing. According to Mintel, 68 percent of Germans are interested in sweets of this kind. But the factory offers a variety of products to anyone who likes hearty foods – ranging from crackers to crisp breads and breads and up to individual ingredients from which the customers themselves can prepare dishes.

They want to contribute to every interested person being able to incorporate raw-food nutrition into their everyday life conveniently, say Iris Herting and Ines Fahrenkamp. A major customer group, they say, is that of the “part-time raw food eaters”, who first try out fresh foods in selected areas, without wanting to change their entire diet straight away.

The two women talk about their “sprouting” vision: “Vitasprosse” would like to cooperate with the organic direct marketers. Above all, the producer wants to purchase fresh raw materials from nearby suppliers in the region. Trade fair appearances are important milestones on the road there, says Iris Herting. That is why “Vitasprosse” wants to present itself at the Green Week in Berlin at the Altmark Stand.

Image caption 2: “Vitasprosse” partner Ines Fahrenkamp and nutritional scientist Iris Herting (l-r) are conquering the raw food market with healthy culinary delights.

Author: Kathrain Graubaum (text/photo)