Pea protein

Pea protein, please

Pea protein is being hailed as the new preferred protein due to its nutritional qualities – and it looks set to play an increasingly important role in food formulation and fortification. “The product is taking the market by storm and will be the protein of the future,” says local supplier, Advance Seed.

So what’s to like about pea protein? It’s easily digestible and has a high-quality amino acid profile; it’s non-GM, allergen-free, gluten-free and lactose-free as well as low calorie.

Add to this the fact that pea protein has no effect on oestrogen, as it does not contain phytoestrogens, which have been shown to increase or decrease oestrogen in humans.

“As high demand continues to drive protein costs ever higher, pea protein is well priced and well positioned to play an increasingly important role in food manufacture. At less than one third of the price of whey powder and comparably to soya protein, pea protein is a healthier alternative with great benefits and functionality,” comments Advance Seed sales specialist, George Tomazos.

“Given the current market conditions, manufacturers are under pressure to find alternatives to protein and there has been an alarming increase in the number of unscrupulous sources of protein,” adds Tomazos.

“Pea protein is pure. It is produced through an entirely mechanical process, during which no chemicals or additives are introduced. It is a 100% natural process, unlike soya protein, which is traditionally produced via a chemical process.”

Pea protein is starting to be added to energy and protein supplements, drinks and bars, processed meats and fortified cereals. It can be utilised in the meat industry to increase protein value and retain moisture and brine, for example in polony, sausage or meat.

“Food and nutritional supplement manufacturers are starting to favour this product for its high protein content, comprising more than 50% protein and less than 11% starch. It increases protein content and enhances texture, viscosity and appearance without altering the flavour, aroma or colour of food,” explains Tomazos.

“We are investigating a range for the fast-growing, gluten-free market, currently at 30% annual growth. In addition, we see pea protein as a potential additive to staple foods such as mealie meal and bread. It is also an excellent alternative to eggs as you get the same performance at a lower cost.”

This pea protein range has taken three years to develop at a cost of more than $70-million. It is distributed by Advance Seed, a division of Canada’s Alliance Grain Traders, a South African agricultural production, processing and trading organisation.

Advance Seed: www.advanceseed.co.za