Plant-derived proteins provide an ideal answer to the increasing demand for nutritious protein-rich food, now and into the future as population growth further increases the need for proteins. However, many plant proteins available today have lost functionality during the isolation and drying processes. Scientists around the world are trying to find ways to developed a proven, affordable preparation process to improve plant protein quality, ready for wide application into food today.

Laurice Pouvreau, Project manager of the Plant Proteins in NIZO, a company based in The Netherlands highlighted that : “The problem with many plant derived proteins is that during extraction and further processing, they lose functionality: the flavor deteriorates and they lose their solubility as proteins are denatured. Therefore, they unfortunately end up being used for animal feed.”

NIZO has applied in-depth understanding of protein behavior, to find a way to keep the plant proteins in their native (their natural) state, even after extraction and processing. This is not done with new, expensive drying techniques, but by adapting critical steps during extraction and spray drying. Cost-effective production of native proteins is a major breakthrough, as these nutritious plant proteins show a huge potential for human foods. Plant proteins ingredients achieve a much higher value.

This can deliver great benefits to the final consumers who are looking for dairy-free options, or more nutritious products, such as high volume foams for non-dairy cappuccinos, stable emulsions such as dressings, and soft gels, like desserts. Food manufacturers are already recognizing the opportunity to appeal to health conscious consumers, by reformulating products and opting for pulse ingredients in the form of flours, but certainly the options are many more!

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