Tapping into the plant-based protein trend with pulses

by Jeff Gelski
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Pulses
Pulses provide avenues for adding plant protein to foods.
 

SAN DIEGO — Pulses offer ways to add plant protein to food items as well as “free from” benefits since they are free of soy, gluten and dairy. Incorporating them successfully into products will depend on the form of the pulse used. Flours, concentrates and isolates all are options, said Julie E. Mann, global protein program manager at Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill.

Julie Mann, Ingredion
Julie Mann, global protein program manager at Ingredion

“It’s not just isolates,” she said. “It’s not just flours. There’s a multicomponent system for you to formulate with.”

Ms. Mann explained the differences of the forms in an Oct. 10 presentation at Cereals 17, the annual meeting of AACC International.

She said data from Infiniti Research show that, when asked where they want to see pulses, 59% of respondents said baked goods such as bread and tortillas, 58% said snack chips and crackers, and 52% said sweet baked goods.

Beanitos pulse chips
Fifty-nine per cent of consumers said they want to see pulses in snack chips and crackers.
 

“It was interesting from our perspective to see that most of the products that they want (pulses) in are sort of what I would call our guilty products, foods that we want to eat them for every meal, but we kind of know we shouldn’t, and we kind of know we shouldn’t end every meal with a sweet baked good, although we love them,” Ms. Mann said.

Consumers are linking pulses, which include chickpeas, beans, peas and lentils, with health benefits, she said.

Ingredion, in conjunction with AGT Food and Ingredients, Regina, Sask., created clean taste pulses, which won an IFT17 Food Expo Innovation Award at IFT17, the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food exposition in June in Las Vegas.

Ingredion clean taste pulses
Ingredion, in conjunction with AGT Food and Ingredients, created clean taste pulses, which won an IFT17 Food Expo Innovation Award at IFT17.
 

Food manufacturers should understand that pulse flours, concentrates and isolates differ in what benefits they bring consumers, their potential applications, their types of nutrition, and the taste and flavor components they bring to applications.

Pulse flours bring more of a whole food perspective, Ms. Mann said.

“There’s messaging and positioning all around flours and starches and whole food,” she said.

She compared pulse concentrates to a middle child that is not as well-recognized. Concentrates offer a balance of nutrition.

Pulse flour
Pulse flours bring more of a whole food perspective.
 

“You’re removing some of the starch, but you’re also concentrating the fiber and the protein in a way that brings balanced nutrition,” she said.

Concentrates are more likely to be found in baked foods and snacks.

“You’re not going after a protein claim,” Ms. Mann said. “You’re really just going after bringing better nutrition to current existing products.”

Pulse protein isolates range to level above 80% protein. Claims of an excellent source of protein are possible in products when using isolates. Sports nutrition products are potential applications as are meat analogs where pulse protein isolates may help build protein structure. 
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