Plant power: Brabender eyes protein extrusion technology for a better future

636591375950141596phillip brabender.jpg

16 Apr 2018 --- Protein, soy and vegetarian-friendly meat substitutes have a promising future. Between August 2016 and July 2017, these trends showed the highest average volume changes in the food markets — still at a comparatively low level regarding value, but with the largest percentage increases. This presents a challenge for every company that wishes to involve its product development department in these markets of the future, according to Brabender.

Approximately 20 percent of the German population belongs to the group of so-called flexitarians, who forego meat for the most part but not always, and they opt for meat substitutes at a particularly high rate. For Brabender, this is exactly where protein texturing enters the equation: With wet texturing by high-humidity extrusion, a meat-like texture, an adequate bite and an oral sensation can be created that is appreciated by customers who are looking for meat substitutes as an alternative to animal-based foods.

FoodIngredientsFirst recently caught up with Philipp Deiters, Sales Manager for Food Extrusion at Brabender, who discussed the importance of food extrusion technology in today’s food industry. “When it comes to texturing using extrusion on a laboratory scale, the cooling die, which is a modular system for the production of vegetable protein textures with meat-like structure, used in combination with laboratory extruders, is the ideal solution. It allows for the development of flexible, state-of-the-art product textures made of a wide variety of raw materials, gluten, or soybeans, but also of other legumes such as peas, lentils, or lupines, as well as ‘exotic’ raw material preparations made from vegetables or nuts.”

Raw material mixtures with fibers, fat, or sugar are also possible. The range of applications includes the development of recipes, raw material analyses, lab-scale production of samples, and the optimization of production processes in the snack food and pasta sector.

This makes this application attractive for a variety of sectors. For example, in addition to forward-looking food companies with extrusion experience, this application is particularly attractive for manufacturers of meat substitutes, pet food, and vegetarian feed. The wet-textured proteins can be extruded, flavored, or even breaded in different geometries. Real products are available for sensory testing, texture analysis, or color value optimization during the product development process.

Brabender focuses on quality control with its rheology instruments and R&D for its extrusion portfolio, specifically for people who are looking for new raw material and are looking to trial new products.

“If you want to produce a textured vegetable protein product, you need to consider flavors, spices, special ingredients, binders, and often these further ingredients are produced by further suppliers, now these suppliers need to check how their product is being used by the producer, so they can buy a small unit to simulate what is going to happen regarding the ingredients and formulation,” he says.

For Deiters, it can be a challenging market to be in. He says there are two major areas of concern for consumers, price and taste. “Vegan and vegetarian trends are huge at the moment, and if a product doesn’t taste like a meat product and a consumer can get it cheaper elsewhere, then they will. The challenge for this technology and for the industry on pricing these solutions is to create this very good texture and taste which is very important, not only for meat substitutes but every food product,” he states.

“Even though something might be better for your health or the planet, if you do not enjoy eating it then the consumer won’t be making a repeat purchase. Ultimately, it has to be enjoyable, plant proteins are an important segment in the industry, and this type of technology needs to be at a high standard to allow this type of extrusion process,” says Deiters.

Brabender is hoping to expand on this technology in the future. “Extruding proteins has become much more important to people, as an industry we have to adapt the process because there is now a demand for these types of raw material,” he continues.

Deiters believes there is still a lot more that needs to be done: “It’s not easy to bring in completely new foods and technology to the industry. The majority of consumers want to eat what they have been eating their whole lives, but this has to change,” he claims. “In the future, there will be 9 billion people on this planet and countries if look at the consumption of meat in Europe and the US alone, then we will not have sufficient resources such as water and grains to feed all this livestock. There needs to be a turning point and I think with this type of technology that we offer, there is a huge market for textured proteins. As long as we can make then enjoyable to eat, then there will be a chance.”

According to Deiters, there is still a lot of unexplored potentials. “It’s not only about soy but maybe blends with wheat, soy and pea proteins, because there are a lot of functionalities in different proteins. Overall, I would say that they are sufficient plant proteins sources available globally and we have good opportunities for innovation.  The grains and other plant proteins that go into feeding livestock could become available if we consumed less meat on the whole. Every region has to focus on the veg proteins or mixture of vegetable proteins which grow best within their region. There is not just one ‘vegetable’ solution, but due to the number of different proteins and the variety of their functionality, different solutions might be best for different markets,” he explains. “These solutions are helping to aid a sustainable future of the planet.”
 
Deiters also notes: “The world has enough agriculture area for the production of any vegetable foods, we need to learn how to deal with it in a more efficient way and with protein texturizing, it is a very efficient way to convert to the protein mass from the field to the fork.”

“There is a market to grow any textured proteins using our technology,” he concludes. With this technology, there is a good chance for everyone and should be working together for the benefit of the food industry.”

By Elizabeth Green

To contact our editorial team please email us at editorial@cnsmedia.com

Related Articles

Food Ingredients News

Plant-based protein growth: Hydrosol’s new stabilizing systems for dairy alternatives

24 Sep 2018 --- Hydrosol is tapping in the growing demand for plant-based proteins with its new stabilizing and texturing systems for a wide spectrum of dairy alternatives that give them properties very close to products made from cow’s milk. These include cultured desserts that contain no milk components, soy or gluten.

Food Ingredients News

Water lentils: Parabel’s tiny plants with huge potential, LENTEIN’s disruptive promise

24 Sep 2018 --- There is much debate in the food industry that centers on the challenges that a fast-growing global population that is expected to hit 10 billion by 2050 present. How will we feed everyone? How will climate change impact on agriculture? What crops and food commodities are the most sustainable? These are some of the big questions that the food industry is currently facing. And water lentils, an innovative protein source, is one of the newest and exciting plant proteins that could hold the answer, according to Parabel USA.

Food Ingredients News

Stevia leaf marketing intensifies amid North and Latin American NPD boom

21 Sep 2018 --- Stevia application continues to grow in food and beverages when assessing CAGR between 2013 and 2017. According to new Innova Market Insights data presented in a webinar yesterday, the rise in applications in North America at 17 percent, Australasia on 21 percent and especially Latin America on 37 percent has been spectacular. As consumer awareness around the sweetener grows, new product data points to a rise in marketing in American markets where “sweetened with stevia” is mentioned more frequently on the front of packaged goods.

Food Ingredients News

Parabel and Stauber enter plant protein distribution deal

19 Sep 2018 --- Plant protein ingredients producer Parabel USA Inc has finalized a distribution agreement with Stauber USA, a subsidiary of Hawkins Inc., for the commercialization of the award-winning LENTEIN plant protein in the US market. Parabel USA Inc. grows water lentils – Lemnaceae – in open hydroponic systems and processes them into LENTEIN plant protein and other plant-based ingredients.

Food Ingredients News

Peeling back the label: UK study explores the “real” ingredients in popular processed foods

19 Sep 2018 --- A study examining the lack of meat in some processed foods and what UK consumers think is classified as “ultra-processed products” reveals a widespread lack of understanding. Less than half of those surveyed feel confident in pointing out which foods fall into the “processed” and “ultra-processed” categories. The study also revealed that many didn’t know the difference between processed foods like frozen vegetables or dried fruit which are not considered unhealthy and ultra-processed foods which contain additives and ingredients (often salt, fat and sugar) to enhance their flavor, texture, or longevity.

More Articles