Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, May 2018

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NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK ■ 51 MAY 2018 and wheat a head start vis-à-vis high yields, robustness, and streamlined har- vest, "these gains can now be realized in previously underexploited crops like peas, lentils, and beans in much shorter time frames and with much lower overall R&D cost because of these technological advances in trait mapping and breeding methodology," Specht says. She foresees a day when plant proteins can be tailored to form, say, strong meat-like f - bers when extruded, or bind fat and water for a juicier texture. "T ese approaches can also overcome some sensory issues," she goes on. "T e abundance of bitter and beany compo- nents can often be reduced through breeding. More advanced techniques like genome edit- ing may enable breeders to eliminate some of these undesirable compounds altogether." Outstanding in Their Field T ese possibilities aren't just science f ction, either; they're protein processing fact. And the rapid development of the pea protein space is proof. As Ties explains, "It all starts with better plant proteins." Cargill recently signed a joint venture with Puris to actualize those improvements in pea protein ingredients. "While most pea proteins bring a host of f avor issues," Ties explains, "Puris pea protein is decidedly dif- ferent." Sourced from non-GMO yellow pea seed varieties specially selected to minimize pulses' typical of f avors, it's processed with- out chemicals "to bring out the best f avor possible," she claims. "We've completed qual- itative descriptive analysis testing and our customers have done their own comparison testing—and consistently, our pea protein comes out on top." Adds Getzinger, "In just a few years, we've shown that pea protein can work well in a va- riety of applications, helping to deliver solid, plant-based nutrition that tastes great, all with the transparency back to the farm that many consumers are calling for." Glanbia has pushed the ball down the f eld, as well, by developing plant proteins with increased stability and solubility for beverage applications. "We've also developed plant protein solutions for bars and bakery systems that increase shelf life and improve texture," Black adds. T e company has even patented a technology that improves dis- persibility and f ow rate for plant-protein powders. "We are also improving mouthfeel and stability of plant proteins for use in ap- plications such as plant-based yogurts and aseptic beverages." But not all new protein technologies are so high-tech. Sabinsa's newly launched Pro- mond is an all-natural vegan protein sourced from almonds (Prunus amygdalus) standard- ized to contain not less than 50% protein. Along with a mild taste, the ingredient con- tributes a complete array of amino acids, in- cluding high levels of branched-chain amino acids, says Majeed. Even better, he adds, it's both lactose and gluten free, "hence no bloating!" Green Protein? So as plant protein production keeps escalat- ing to meet demand—and, over time, way in the future, possibly approaches the scale of animal-protein production—does the for- mer run the risk of losing the sustainable "green sheen" that's helped endear it to so many consumers in the f rst place? Probably not. "It takes 9 calories of feed to get one back in chicken meat," Weston points out, "and chicken is one of the most 'ef cient' meats to produce!" Hogs, cattle, and lamb take an even higher feed toll per pound of production. "Plant-based meats can be pro- duced much more ef ciently from an eco- logical perspective," he says, "making them a more sustainable alternative." And consider the pea, Getzinger proposes. It returns nitrogen to the soil where it grows, "displacing some or all of the fertilizer that a farmer would need to apply to f elds." Peas also require moderate amounts of water, can act as a cover crop, and minimize use of herbicides otherwise needed to stanch weed growth. So they, and other plant sources, de- serve a place at the table. "By now," Getz- inger concludes, "most of us realize that there's simply no way that enough animal- based protein can be sustainably pro- duced to supply the needs of the world's ever-growing population. The numbers simply don't work. Plant proteins have to be part of the solution." References 1. "2050: A Third More Mouths to Feed." Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2. "Plant Protein Trends." Innova Market In- sights presentation. July 2017 3. "Taste Is the Top Reason U.S. Consumers Eat Plant-Based Proteins." Mintel International. drink/taste-is-the-top-reason-us-consumers- eat-plant-based-proteins. February 15, 2018 4. "International Plant Study." HealthFocus In- ternational. August 2017 5. "T e Protein Report–Meat Alternatives." Mintel International. 2017 6. "Can Protein Startups and T eir Inves- tors Take on Big Cow?" Crunchbase web- site. can-protein-startups-investors-take-big- cow/?utm_content=buf fer6672c&utm_ m e d i u m = s o c i a l & u t m _ s o u r c e = tw i tt e r. com&utm_campaign=buf er&ex_cid=SigDig 7. "Plant-Based Proteins–U.S." Mintel Interna- tional. January 2018 "By now, most of us realize that there's simply no way that enough animal-based protein can be sustainably produced to supply the needs of the world's ever-growing population," says Jon Getzinger, Puris. Kimberly J. Decker writes for the food and nutrition industries from her base in the San Francisco area, where she enjoys eating food as much as she does writing about it.

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