Ingredients sourced from beans, peas and other pulses may fit into protein trends in various ways. The plant sources may provide satiety benefits, give products more of a balanced amino acid profile and appeal to vegetarians or people who just want to reduce the amount of meat they eat.
The United States ranks as the largest market for protein claims, according to research released by Mintel in January. Among global new product launches with protein claims in 2012, the United States accounted for 19% of them, beating out such other countries as India, at 9%, and the United Kingdom, at 7%.
Americans seek protein to aid in satiety and weight management and to boost muscle recovery and build muscle after a workout, said Nirvana Chapman, global food science trend analyst at Mintel. Products launched in the United States with both a high protein and vegan claim grew by 54% in number over the five years ended in 2012, according to Mintel.
Peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas are all examples of pulses, said Tanya Der, manager, Food Innovation & Marketing, for Pulse Canada, Winnipeg, Man. Fiber and protein are two benefits of adding pulses to products. Pulse ingredients may give a product a more balanced protein profile.
“You can have a high amount of protein in a product, but it’s not necessarily good quality protein,” Ms. Der said.
A blend of pulses and cereal may lead to an improved quality of protein, which may be digested and metabolized.
“It’s actually being used efficiently,” she said.
Wheat, rice and oats are all cereal grains that may be blended with pulses, she said. The blends allow for inclusion of more kinds of amino acids.
Pulses have high levels of an amino acid called lysine, Ms. Der said. Wheat is low in lysine, but it has other amino acids called cysteine and methionine.
Ingredients sourced from beans and peas are available from several suppliers.
Archer Daniels Midland Co., Decatur, Ill., offers VegeFull bean ingredients.
“The VegeFull cooked bean powders, like all legumes, contain all the essential amino acids, but tend to be lower in the sulfur-containing acids of cysteine and methionine,” said Cheryl Borders, technical service in edible beans for ADM Research. “Combining the bean powders with other cereals and grains that have higher amounts of the sulfur-containing amino acids will provide a complete protein with regard to essential amino acids.”
Burcon NutraScience Corp., Vancouver, B.C., recently introduced Peazazz pea ingredients. Pea proteins have an amino acid profile rich in lysine, arginine and branched chain amino acids, said Paul Lam, business development analyst for Burcon NutraScience.
“Our Peazazz pea protein enables beverage manufacturers to comfortably formulate with up to 10 grams of protein and provide consumers with a good source of healthy plant protein,” Mr. Lam said. “Our Peazazz pea protein contains a balanced amino acid profile that includes all the essential amino acids the body needs.”
Roquette offers Nutralys pea ingredients. Dry yellow peas undergo a wet process treatment that ensures pea isolates with 85% to 90% protein, according to the company. Applications include snacks and cereals, gluten-free foods, meat products and vegetarian food, sports nutrition and dairy foods.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 back up the value of beans and peas in the diet. According to the guidelines, beans and peas are excellent sources of protein and fiber and they provide such nutrients as iron, zinc, potassium and folate.
Ms. Der said pulses also have functional benefits in the context of food product processing and development. Pulses are able to uptake water and hold water, which assists in binding together a meat product, such as a burger.
Pulses may add protein and fiber to pasta and noodles, which normally are wheat-based. The sensory qualities of pasta and noodles may stay the same when pulse flour replaces up to 30% of the wheat flour.
Canada is investing in processing technology designed to better mill pulses, Ms. Der said. Goals include making consistent pulse flours with the desired particle size and functional properties required by the food manufacturing industry.
Mr. Lam said Peazazz allows manufacturers to produce transparent acidic beverages with what Burcon NutraScience calls “invisible protein nutrition.”
“Peazazz is completely soluble in low pH systems and produces solutions that are transparent and heat stable,” he said. “These properties, together with its clean flavor, make Peazazz highly suitable for fortifying acidic beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, juices, fortified waters, etc. Peazazz may be used in both ready-to-drink and powdered acidic beverages.”
In addition to low pH systems, Peazazz may be used in a variety of other food applications, including cereal and nutrition bars, baked foods, vegetarian and vegan products, weight management products and gluten-free products, Mr. Lam said.
Burcon NutraScience is building a Peazazz semi-works production facility in Winnipeg that should be completed by early summer, Mr. Lam said.
“With this semi-works plant we will be able to produce commercial volumes of Peazazz in order to drive primary market demand,” he said. “We will produce market development (tonnage) quantities of product for customers to use to begin development and commercialization work on new products featuring Peazazz.”
Snacks are an area of opportunity for the inclusion of beans and peas. Snacks accounted for 20% of the high protein food and drink new product launches in the United States in 2012, according to Mintel.
Potential applications for VegeFull ingredients include extruded and sheeted snacks as well as dips, crackers, sauces, baked foods, tortillas, soups, pet foods, dry mixes, bean crisps, particulate bars and gluten-free products, Ms. Borders said.
“The VegeFull products are easy to use, and they work well with other ingredients such as cereal grains, starches and other proteins,” she said. “The increased protein and fiber in bean powders usually requires increasing the liquid in the formulation. It may be necessary to change the order of addition of the ingredients to reduce the amount of added liquids to the formula to avoid a negative effect on texture.”
The amount of protein and fiber in VegeFull ingredients may help to slow digestion and provide a feeling of fullness or satiety, which may help in weight management, Ms. Borders said. Protein and fiber content may vary by application.
“The bean powders typically provide 20% to 30% protein per 100 grams of powder as well as 20% to 23% of fiber,” she said.