Planting protein

by Jeff Gelski
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Consumer researchers, an industry group and even a television talk show host this year have promoted plant sources of protein, which may provide products with such health benefits as satiety and reduced saturated fat. The benefits have led to ingredients based on peas and beans and have given food manufacturers ideas on creating healthier snacks.

Snacking accounts for 48% of the eating occasions in the United States, according to a May 3 webinar on global snacking trends from Bellevue, Wash.-based The Hartman Group, a market research firm. While Americans once viewed snacks as treats to be enjoyed occasionally, they now want to incorporate snacks into a healthy diet. They are looking for snacks that contain protein and fiber and might incorporate beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.

Tanya Der, in food innovation and marketing for Pulse Canada, Winnipeg, Man., spoke March 28 at the Institute of Food Technologists’ Wellness 12 conference in Rosemont, Ill. Pulses include peas, beans,
lentils and chickpeas. Plant proteins have satiety effects that provide weight manage-ment benefits, she said, and they are lower in saturated fat, which may provide benefits in reducing cardiovascular dis-ease risk.

Beanitos, Inc., Austin, Texas, uses whole black beans, pinto beans and flaxseed in adding 4 grams of protein per 1-oz serving of the company’s snacks. The “Dr. Oz Show” was to feature Beanitos in a May 16 episode.

“People look to him as a totally credible source,” said Doug Foreman, chief executive officer of Beanitos.
He said other food companies have experienced the “Dr. Oz effect” after their products appeared on the show. The demand for the products may lead to a flurry of phone calls and a crashing of web sites, not to mention retail outlets running out of the products. In preparation, Beanitos made its distributors aware of the snacks’ appearance on the show.

Other recent news items on protein sources have focused on peas and soybeans, a legume.

DuPont, Wilmington, Del., on May 1 said it had acquired full ownership of Solae, L.L.C., formerly a joint venture, from Bunge Ltd. DuPont previously owned 72% of Solae, a soy-based ingredient company in St. Louis, and Bunge owned the remaining 28%.

Working in the network of DuPont will allow Solae to leverage new opportunities in science and technology, said Michele Fite, vice-president of global marketing and strategy and specialty business at Solae. It will allow Solae to place soy protein and soy ingredients into more food forms than the company is able to do currently, she added. The food forms may include healthier snacks.

“Snacking is an emerging trend, and that is especially true in the United States and parts of Europe and parts of Latin America,” Ms. Fite said.

Snack bars are popular in the United States, she said. In other countries, Solae may target other food forms for soy inclusion. Powdered beverage mixes are popular in Asia. Juices are consumed more often in Latin America.

A Food and Drug Administration health claim exists for soy. It states, “25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Eleven countries have approved health claims for soy protein’s potential to lower blood cholesterol and lower the risk of coronary heart disease, according to Solae.

Adding pea protein also may improve the nutritional profile of snacks.

Roquette Freres, based in France, offers Nutralys pea protein extracted from dry peas (Pisum sativum). It is about 85% protein and has emulsifying properties. Potential applications include protein bars and baked snacks. Nutralys pea protein also may enrich chocolate, according to Roquette America, Geneva, Ill. It may be added to chocolate at up to 16% without affecting processing conditions.

Burcon NutraScience Corp., Vancouver, B.C., offers Peazazz, a pea protein isolate that is 100% soluble, transparent and heat stable in low pH solutions with clean flavor characteristics. Peazazz is suitable for fortifying acidic beverage products such as soft drinks, sports drinks and juices. It also may be used in other applications such as meat products, vegetarian products, baked goods, pasta, snack foods, nutrition bars, weight management products, sports nutrition products and gluten-free foods.

“Pea protein is a fairly well-established market, and we think Peazazz’s exciting properties such as clean flavor, complete solubility, transparency and heat stability in low pH solutions make it perfect for current and new applications,” said Johann Tergesen, president and chief operating officer for Burcon NutraScience Corp.

Combining different sources of plant proteins is another option.

Kevin Segall, Ph.D., a food scientist with Burcon NutraScience Corp., said pea protein isolates are rich in lysine, arginine and branched chain amino acids but are considered lacking in sulfur containing amino acids.

“Pea proteins isolates may be combined with other protein sources that are rich in sulfur containing amino acids to improve the amino acid profile of a food product compared to using pea protein isolate alone,” he said.

Vegetable proteins may supplement dairy proteins, said Courtney Kingery, marketing and customer development manager at ADM North American Oilseeds in Decatur, Ill.

“By using vegetable proteins, such as ADM’s soy proteins, bean powders or wheat proteins, food manufacturers could save up to 50% of their protein costs over dairy proteins, depending on usage rates and application,” she said.

Protein blends may offer functional benefits as well.

“Baked bars or snacks that include a blend of ADM’s isolated soy proteins and wheat proteins often see better cell structure, better bite and less of a doughy-like or under-baked texture,” Ms. Kingery said.
Soy proteins from Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., may work together with the company’s VegeFull bean ingredients.

“For example, a nutrition bar that includes ADM’s VegeFull bean crisps coupled with our isolated soy protein can easily be formulated to a good source of protein,” Ms. Kingery said. “The neutral flavor of both the bean powders and isolated soy protein works well in bars with delicate flavors like fruit or vanilla.” 

New whipping protein enhances texture of bars

FITCHBURG, WIS. — Glanbia Nutritionals plans to launch BarPro 585, a new whipping protein designed to enhance the texture of nougat-style bars, at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting and food expo June 25-28 in Las Vegas. High protein chocolate bite prototypes at Glanbia’s booth No. 1241 will feature BarPro 585, a milk protein isolate.

Glanbia has been able to use BarPro 585 to add 13 grams of protein into a bar, said Linda Wilson, business development manager for Fitchburg-based Glanbia Nutritionals.

“BarPro 585 is an important step in bar ingredient innovation as texture is such a key element in consumer satisfaction,” she said. “Manufacturers have often faced challenges in effectively creating a nougat texture in such applications, and this ingredient is the first to succeed. We see bars remaining a particularly popular format for consumers as they are convenient and offer proven nutritional benefits.”

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