The promise of pea protein
Mr. Ernesto believes today’s consumers — and millennials in particular — want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s made, and that it will be there for their grandchildren. “Some of these products, such as pea protein flour from green peas, provide a cheaper form of protein,” he said. Pea protein is part of a portfolio that includes yellow peas, green peas, beans and lentils and has been featured in a variety of new launches. Packing 24 grams of protein per 3.5-oz serving, pea protein can be used in baking, smoothies, juice and more. “It’s also a soy-free alternative and ours is non-GMO,” he said.
“I’m a foodie at heart,” Mr. Ernesto said, “and I think we’re going to come up with an easier way to make these things (cricket flours, vegetable flours) more palatable by turning them into smoothies or by baking with them.”
“We’re starting to see a lot more chefs doing really interesting things with pea protein powder including at The Cooking Lab,” he said, which is the research facility of Modernist Cuisine, Bellevue, Wash. In fact, The Cooking Lab reportedly uses a centrifuge to “spin” peas into component “pea water” and “pea butter” (comprised of pectin and sugars). “Pea protein powder will become more popular going forward because it helps keep your spending on protein and iron lower,” he said.
“Pea protein (powder or flour) is now more mainstream as a nutritional beverage,” said Gerrie Bouchard, CRC, director of marketing within the Wild Flavors and Specialty Ingredient business unit for Archer Daniels Midland, Decatur, Ga. It’s a powerful source of protein to use in place of wheat flour or cornstarch, to use in baking and coatings.
“I think there are absolutely lots of benefits from the cost perspective in using plant protein. There’s also shelf stability, plus the cost of shipping, handling and manufacturing compared to very perishable animal protein,” she said.
Ms. Bouchard said the industry should expect additional protein sources to move into the mainstream including hemp powder, chia seed and flax seed. According to Bouchard: “If there’s a market demand for it, we have the resources to bring the solution.”
Saving aquafaba from the drain
Sir Kensington’s is using aquafaba — the liquid left behind from cooked chickpeas, which has egg-like properties — in new product development.
“With the help of the vegan community, Sir Kensington’s realized that aquafaba was a valuable egg replacement,” according to Catherine Vo, R.&D. coordinator for the New York City-based company.
Fabanaise (classic and chipotle versions) is now a brand of egg-free, vegan mayo.
“It’s the first and currently the only company to utilize aquafaba commercially, helping to create access to and visibility for to this previously discarded ingredient.”