In the Media > Plant-based proteins ‘best positioned’ to displace conventional products
  3 May 2020   Food & Nutrition

Plant-based proteins ‘best positioned’ to displace conventional products

There is a need for manufacturers to start looking beyond wheat, soy and pea to allow for a more diverse palate of crops to work with – says FutureBridge

New research by FutureBridge has identified the four ‘next-generation’ proteins which it claims are best positioned to displace today’s plant-based offerings. The research services company says that while the market for plant-based protein is growing – projected to reach $10.8 billion globally by 2022 – complex issues are emerging in the industry, for example surrounding the sustainability of ingredient sourcing.

The firm argues that manufacturers need to start looking beyond wheat, soy and pea protein and move towards a more diverse range of crops.

According to FutureBridge, its new plant protein analysis brought together the firm’s start-ups database with its in-house software and data analytics. It also built on a detailed assessment of available technologies in relation to scalability, sustainability, nutrition and functionality, to identify the following list of upcoming plant proteins:

  • Mung Bean Mimics Egg – Mung bean has many of the same amino acids as eggs that provide attractive gelation and emulsification properties. Usage of mung bean instead of eggs allows a reduction of 1 billion gallons of water in production per year.
  • Chickpea Challenges the Mighty Pea – Chickpea is quickly rising through the rankings as an attractive plant protein for meat analogs that rivals soy, wheat, and pea. For example, a research study identified that the protein digestibility of lysine and proline was higher in extruded chickpea than in yellow pea.
  • Coconut’s Characteristics Win in Dairy – With the alternative dairy segment reaching $49.9B, the market share of coconut will rise. All 20 manufacturers of plant-based cheese in our database utilize coconut protein as a key ingredient.
  • Seaweed for Taste Without the Smell – The global seaweed and seaweed product market is projected to be $26M by 2025. Our research spotlights the requirement for clean-label umami taste in the alternative seafood segment as a critical driver of seaweed’s demand in the future.

“Companies must look to the next wave of plant proteins to provide more options during product formulation,” said Sarah Browner, FutureBridge’s food and nutrition lead analyst.

“The proteins which are most utilised in plant-based products today have several problems. Pea protein, for example, has a very pronounced flavor which is difficult to mask while soy scrambles to move away from its association with GMO.”

The aim of finding ‘better’ plant-based protein alternatives has underpinned other recent research efforts.

A study conducted by the University of Copenhagen, the findings of which were revealed earlier this month, identified fava beans as a promising sustainable protein alternative to the “environmentally taxing soybean”.

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