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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
Egg white isolate is a protein differentiator in the sports market, says firm at SupplySide West
In the increasingly crowded protein market, egg protein is a way for companies to stand out, says Rembrandt Foods (Spirit Lake, IA). At November’s SupplySide West show, the company promoted its RemPro 8090 egg protein isolate, which offers a very clean, neutral taste and a high protein content.
Rembrandt first introduced RemPro 8090 a few years ago when the commodity egg supplier began targeting the nutraceuticals market. RemPro 8090 comprises more than 92% protein on a dry basis and is 70% lower in sodium compared to standard egg whites. It is supplied in both a partially agglomerated form (for bars, nougats, baked goods, snacks, etc.) and in an instantized version (for sports and nutritional beverages). Rembrandt also offers an egg protein concentrate powder: RemPro 8000 egg white protein powder, which comprises 80% protein and is also dispersible in beverages.
RemPro 8090 offers an even cleaner taste profile than RemPro 8000, the company says. Jihan Miller, senior research scientist, Rembrandt Foods, explained that RemPro 8090 sidesteps any flavor challenges formulators might be concerned about.
“Dried egg doesn’t taste very good by itself. Egg whites typically have a higher concentration of sodium and certain flavor components that make them a bit ‘sulfery’ tasting,” she said at SupplySide West. As a result, formulators would normally need to use flavor maskers and other added ingredients that, in the end, ultimately detract from a cleaner label. But RemPro 8090 leverages patent-pending processes that de-flavor the protein isolate and boost its protein content, she said.
“You’d be surprised at how neutral the product really is,” Miller added. “It makes it much easier to formulate with because it’s so versatile. You don’t have to mask any off-flavors.” The ingredient can be included in everything from beverages-it offers enhanced solubility, she said-to bars and snacks.
The company is also gearing the ingredient to the breakfast market because a lot of breakfast foods are not rich in protein, said Vivian Chow, marketing and portfolio director, Rembrandt Foods. “Adding our isolate to a yogurt, an overnight oatmeal, waffles, or any sort of beverage-coffee, juice-would be a great boost to somebody’s daily diet,” she said.
Chow said the company did more work to “fine tune” RemPro 8090 since introducing it years ago, including putting it through more applications testing as well as improving heat stability to withstand pasteurization. “We’ve done a lot more application development to understand the tolerances and the applicability. Before, I think we understood that it could be easily used in a beverage, but now we’ve found a lot of different applications.” At SupplySide West, the company sampled the ingredient not only in a beverage but also in an almond butter and a whipped honey.
The company also finalized its production process for broad commercialization, taking it beyond the concept stage and is now actively looking for partners who want to formulate with RemPro 8090.
Rembrandt continues to position RemPro 8090 and RemPro 8000 as differentiators in the sports protein market. “There are so many whey protein isolates out there, and it’s kind of overwhelming for the customer to try to pick one. So either combining those ingredients with egg protein, or switching to egg protein, can be a value-added for a brand,” Miller said.
Combining eggs with another protein source also has functional benefits, Miller said. “Eggs really complement dairy proteins or even plant proteins because they offer a medium-range protein absorption in the gut. Whey proteins are fast-absorbing, so when you combine whey and egg protein, you really achieve the full spectrum of protein absorption.”
And, said Chow, eggs stand out on their own because they have always been a “gold-standard” protein source. “Eggs are the gold standard in terms of protein versus other protein sources. Eggs are unique in that they have all nine essential and all nine non-essential amino acids. They are very high in terms of their digestibility per PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score). So in terms of the nutrients you get from egg protein, there is very much an advantage versus another protein source,” she said. Also, she pointed out, eggs are free of allergens of concern, such as lactose and soy.
Rembrandt’s goal is to remind the market about the value of egg protein, a message that may have gotten lost among trendier protein sources today. “Whey and soy have become very popular over the last few years, to the point where people have almost stopped thinking about eggs,” Chow said. “We recognize that there’s an opportunity to bring eggs back to the forefront, particularly because the biggest challenge people had with eggs was the taste and how easily it could be used.” Thanks to RemPro 8090, formulators no longer need to worry about this, she said. “This is a chance for us to bring eggs back to the forefront at a time when people are looking for new forms of protein.”