Emerging Plant Protein Solutions Challenge Soy’s Dominance

3 Sep 2013 --- The vegetable protein category encompasses much more than soy and innovative new protein sources available can be considered a welcome addition to the vegetable protein portfolio. In his new book Rice Protein & Beyond, Henk Hoogenkamp world renowned protein expert, and author explores the areas of emerging plant protein solutions which will shape the future of formulated foods.

Henk takes us into a new dimension of combined food protein strategies that he believes will drive health, affordability and sustainability issues in the years to come.
Hoogenkamp notes that alternative choices to soy protein, such as mustard flour, pea protein, microalgae, and rice protein, may have preferential benefits like superior flavor, hypoallergenicity, and preferred consumer labeling. It is logical that much of these ingredients’ positioning is aimed at soy and soy protein ingredients, considering that soy is the world’s largest and most dominant source of vegetable protein.
According to Hoogenkamp, pea protein is probably farthest ahead on the curve, offering excellent water-lipid linkage properties.
Quinoa is another promising highly nutritious yet “old-age” cereal-like crop that is rich in protein and micronutrients. The almost forgotten protein-rich grain is now quickly recovering and frequently used in organic foods, including high moisture extruded meatfree options. Quinoa is now also cultivated and harvested in the US, Canada, UK, Scandinavia, and India.
Canola or rapeseed protein and oat protein are also viable vegetable proteins, just like potato protein and sorghum. Commercialization of canola, oat, and potato protein isolate will delight food formulators with additional processing options. Expect these vegetable proteins to be positioned at the semi-high end of the application spectrum somewhere between soy proteins isolate and dairy protein prices.
Rice has been the staple of billions of people for a great many centuries. This grain is much more than a vehicle to deliver carbohydrate calories. Being one of the oldest grains, rice has not been explored to the same extend as wheat, corn and soy. The reason is probably due to the available funding of US driven agricultural interests. However, since the beginning of the 21st Century, science and food technology are quickly unraveling this grain’s potential and formulators have started to incorporate rice bran and its many fractions to provide functionality, health and taste contributions, as well as cost efficiency.
About 90% of all the nutrients of rice are embedded in the rice bran and germ. Being an inherent part of the whole grain, it also contains phytonutrients like tocopherols, tocotrienols, oryzanols and phytosterols. Stabilization technology has made it possible to recoup a range of highly-nutritive ingredients from rice bran including protein, fibers, and oil.
In his book, Hoogenkamp examines the influence of the selection criteria and the profound effects on (sub)related variables such as ecology, sustainability, protein quality, societal diagnostics. Besides an ongoing food evolution there is a revolution which is emerging to serve the rapidly expanding world population together with its spin-off developments such as protein supplementation, meatfree, glutenfree, hypoallergenicity, diabetes mellitus, sarcopenia and calorie intake management.


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