The demand for high protein and lower carbohydrate foods are challenging developers to source alternative proteins suitable for the desired application.
Soy, pea and chickpea are only some of the examples enjoying the limelight. Nutritional profile, allergen status, flavour, functionality and cost-in-use are important considerations for a specific application when choosing a protein. A protein’s ability to disperse, solubilise or bind water are key factors assisting manufacturers in creating several final products providing the consumer with more options. Ultimately the challenge lies in creating plant-based alternatives that mimic the nutritional profile, taste and texture of conventional dairy-based proteins.
A SNAPSHOT OF THE WELL KNOWN PROTEIN ALTERNATIVES
Soy protein: These concentrates offer a complete amino acid profile and economical cost-in-use benefits. Defatted soy proteins exclude anti-nutritionals such as soluble sugars and anti-nutritional factors, assisting with improved flavour profile and shelf-life duration. The ability of soy protein to deliver the desired characteristics in extruded applications makes it the preferred protein alternative.
Pea protein: A cost-effective alternative to allergen based proteins. It lends itself well to the combination with other proteins, for example, the combination of rice protein to achieve a complete amino acid profile.
Chickpea protein: The neutral taste and white colour will aid in formulating a favourable appearance and flavour profile especially when replacing dairy proteins. The small and uniform particle size offers interesting benefits including faster processing and less waste during production.
Rice protein: Contributing to the environmentally conscious trend, rice protein is a sustainable and smart protein alternative used in cereal and bakery applications. The ability to not influence the final product structure/expansion rate assists in formulating a consistent product with improved crispiness and bowl-life. Fortifying with protein has several functional benefits and offers different claims such as dairy-free, soy-free, glutenfree, clean label, high in- and source of protein claims. These claims are also part of the current trends moving towards functional food products in bakery, cereals, confectionery, beverage, food processing and dairy industries. Depending on the criteria for the final product the correct protein may be chosen to offer consumers a product that will fulfil their needs.