Pasta made with pulses
Pulses may be incorporated into such grain-based foods items as pasta to increase protein content.

Investing in pea processing

Already this year investments and innovation have focused on pulses, especially peas.

Roquette, La Madeleine, France, plans to invest more than C$400 million ($303 million) to build a pea protein manufacturing site in Portage la Prairie, Man. The Canadian facility will have a processing capacity of more than 120,000 tonnes per year, said Pascal Leroy, vice-president and head of the pea protein business for Roquette, when plans were announced in January.

Roquette expects construction to start in the second half of 2017 and production to begin in 2019. Roquette already operates a pea protein manufacturing site in France that has a processing capacity of nearly 100,000 tonnes per year, Mr. Leroy said.

Pea protein may work in such applications as gluten-free items, vegetarian food, sports and slimming foods, senior nutrition and clinical nutrition, according to Roquette. Mr. Leroy said snacks, nutrition bars, pasta, meat analogs and sports nutrition products are all potential applications.

At the Canadian plant, Roquette will process yellow peas, just like it does at the France plant, and make pea protein ingredients like those made at the France plant, Mr. Leroy said. The company offers Nutralys brand pea protein ingredients.

PGP International, Inc., based in Woodland, Calif., and a division of ABF Ingredients, in February launched a 60% pea protein crisp that may be used in such applications as cereals, snack bars, energy foods and confectionery. The company’s extrusion technology ensures the crisps remain free from hexane. The ingredients are gluten-free and may be used in products for those intolerant to animal-based proteins or soy.

Not all pea proteins are the same, said Amanda Donohue-Hansen, business development manager for Cargill, Minneapolis.

“Without clear standards of identity on protein content, as we see in the soy and dairy protein space, it can be confusing,” she said. “Ultimately, it’s important to understand the desired protein nutrition and functionality of the final product in order to find a pea protein to meet one’s needs.”

Pea flour inherently has at least 20% protein content and has been shown to give more of a protein boost than traditional flours in baked foods and snacks, Ms. Donohue-Hansen said.

“However, its functionality and sensory properties are different than traditional grain flours and need to be taken into consideration when formulating,” she said.

Mechanically concentrated pea flour has upwards of 50% protein content.

“Many in the industry will commonly refer in marketing to this concentrated pea protein flour as ‘pea protein,’ although its protein content equivalent in soy is simply labeled ‘soy protein flour,’” she said. “At Cargill, when we say ‘pea protein,’ we are referring to pea protein ingredients that are separated from the starches and fibers in a wet process with a minimum protein content of 80% on a dry basis.”

Cargill offers its pea protein ingredients through a partnership with World Food Processing, a multi-generation, family-owned business based in Oskaloosa, Iowa, that has developed non-bioengineered/non-G.M.O. pea seed varieties to minimize off-flavors.

“Through Cargill formulation expertise and the great flavor profile provided by World Food Processing’s pea genetics, we are able to overcome off-flavors in many bakery applications and invite customers to try our prototypes to see for themselves,” Ms. Donohue-Hansen said.

Ingredion, Inc., Westchester, Ill., has become more active in pulses through a distribution alliance with AGT Food and Ingredients, Regina, Sask., a company globally active in pulse ingredient sourcing, processing and distribution.

“One of the challenges that product developers face when working with plant-based ingredients such as pulses is the natural, beany flavor profile,” said Pat O’Brien, manager, strategic business development for Ingredion and based in Bridgewater, N.J. “In certain applications the flavor profile may be desired while in other applications product developers may prefer a bland flavor profile. Ingredion has the technical and applications support to help customers achieve the flavor profile they desire when working with pulse ingredients.”

Ingredion and AGT Food recently launched a series of Clean Taste pulse ingredients, which allow product developers a bland flavor profile for easier incorporation into applications in which flavor has been an issue.

Ingredion’s Vitessence line of protein concentrates derived from pea, lentil and faba bean range from 55% to 60% in protein content, Mr. O’Brien said. Vitessence Pulse CT 3602 faba bean protein has been shown to replace up to 45% of wheat flour in a cracker application, allowing for a “good source of protein” claim, said Dilek Uzunalioglu, Ph.D., business scientist, bakery and snack team leader, global applications for Ingredion and based in Bridgewater.

The water-holding capacity of Vitessence Pulse CT 3602 is close to that of wheat flour, which enables formulators to incorporate it with slight adjustments, Dr. Uzunalioglu said. A water increase of up to 10% water is recommended, depending on the formulation.

Homecraft flours from Ingredion include a range of pulse-based flours derived from pea, faba bean, chickpea and lentil, Mr. O’Brien said. Protein content in the flours ranges from 12% to 30%.

Archer Daniels Midland Co., Chicago, offers VegeFull cooked ground bean products that have been shown to work in such grain-based foods applications as tortillas, brownies, cookies, snacks, cereal, pizza, pasta, crackers and chips. VegeFull cooked ground bean powders have been shown to substitute for 10% to 25% of flour or added fat in baked foods. They may be extruded into pasta or snack foods starting at 30% replacement.