Nutritional Outlook has pegged plant protein as one of 2015's ingredients to watch. Check back daily as we release new predictions.
There’s simply no stopping plant protein. “Consumers have asked for it, and we are seeing more and more ingredients and products using plant-based proteins,” says Nutritional Outlook EAB member Vitamin Shoppe’s Brian Tanzer, MS, CNS, adding that sources like pea, hemp, and rice “will become more popular as companies come up with new innovations for managing the flavor and texture issues associated with these protein sources.”
Pea protein is especially trending, with major manufacturers getting on board. Datamonitor cites General Mills’ LÃ¤rabar ALT bar, which calls out its protein source: “Many bar brands use soy or whey protein, but ALT uses an alternative protein source: peas.” Markets and Markets estimates a pea protein global CAGR of 9% until 2019, with Asia-Pacific clocking in as the highest user. Pea and other plant proteins are also trending beyond human nutrition, with Datamonitor predicting sales gains in pet nutrition.
“The benefits of pea protein are many: the ingredient is hypoallergenic and not genetically modified, giving brands a ‘cleaner’ label, and it is also more sustainable compared to many other crops,” wrote Datamonitor analyst Renata De Marchi in a blog. “Despite this,” she warned, “in order for pea proteins to gain traction in the marketplace, companies need to increase production capacity and reduce costs, as pulses are in short supply.” Last year, Roquette America (Keokuk, IA), supplier of Nutralys pea protein, announced an agreement with U.S.-based World Food Processing to boost supply, with CEO Dominique Taret stating that the partnership “allows Roquette America to give the U.S. market a local supply of pea protein isolates.” In the animal nutrition space, Horn Animal Wellness (La Mirada, CA) announced that it is now distributing Emsland Group’s Empet pea protein and potato ingredients for animal nutrition, and supplier NP Nutra (Irvine, CA) also introduced a pea protein powder for human nutrition last fall.
On newcomer algae protein, when Solazyme’s Mark Brooks explains how AlgaVia whole algal protein works in formulation, it becomes clear just how great the food potential is. “When using AlgaVia whole algal protein in formulations, the protein is completely protected by the microalgae cell wall, so it has limited interaction with other ingredients. Because of this, our protein will not give you the gritty texture you receive with other fortified products. It enables robust protein fortification in many different food products, including products where incorporating protein is often challenging, such as low-pH beverages, dressings, and crackers.” And, he points out, not only does AlgaVia-at 65% protein content-offer all of the essential amino acids, but as a whole-food ingredient “it offers more to customers and consumers than other plant-protein sources.” “More” includes protein, dietary fiber, healthy lipids, and micronutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin.
2015 Ingredients to Watch
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