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Current top 3 novel protein ingredient innovations

5 min read

Impressively, the animal product substitute market is expected to reach a value of $2.5 billion over the next two years, according to Euromonitor. Consumers are increasingly turning to plant-based ingredients for both nutrition and sustainability reasons. With this, it is no surprise that we are seeing an increase in companies looking to meet these consumer trends and develop innovative plant-based protein ingredients.

So, what exactly are the plant-based protein developments currently happening within our industry and what novel ingredients can we expect in the future?

1) Cambridge Commodities, Clear Rice Protein     

According to Innova Market Insights, demand for refreshing and indulgent flavours and on-the-go food and drink options are fostering NPD growth. The average growth in global beverages that meet vegan consumer demands has recently increased by 30% for soft drinks and by 48% for hot drinks.

On the back of these interesting statistics, global nutritional ingredient supplier Cambridge Commodities is excited to announce the launch of its brand-new range of plant-based clear rice protein powders, the first in their range of clear plant proteins. It is a vegan, fully soluble protein drink here to provide your consumers with a refreshingly clear alternative to the classic ‘creamy’ protein shakes. Cressida Cable, Head of Product Development, has stated that: “Traditionally, plant-based protein powders can be gritty and can cause digestive discomfort. We recognised by using hydrolysed rice protein, we could mitigate this effect whilst still giving our customers a plant-based option.”

This newly launched range initially has three ready-made flavours: Cherry Cola, Tropical, and Strawberry & Kiwi, with further flavour launches planned. There is also the opportunity to develop bespoke flavour blends upon request or just obtain the rice protein in the form of an unflavoured ingredient. Cambridge Commodities’ clear rice protein has an excellent amino acid profile and provides 10g of protein per 14g serving. 

Cambridge Commodities also included its latest ingredient innovation, Librifoam® in the formulation. Librifoam® is a silicone anti-foaming agent that helps during the manufacturing process to minimise unwanted foam. Other features of the clear rice protein range from Cambridge Commodities include no added sugar, great taste including low bitterness, easy to dissolve and low viscosity.

2) Lihme Protein Solutions and Duynie Group, Potato Fruit Water

With the “rescued ingredients” trend ripe for industry-wide adoption, Danish biotech company Lihme Protein Solutions and Duynie Group, a Dutch upcycling specialist are currently exploring potato fruit water as the focus of their new business venture. Potato fruit water is a by-product of the potato starch industry and currently stands as an untapped resource that the partnership endeavours to source protein from. The companies are excited about this new development, as they believe that the proteins sourced from potato starch side streams will effectively contribute towards their climate-positive and animal welfare initiatives. In addition, Robbert van Breda, chief new business offer at Duynie Group has stated that the partnership with Lihme Protein Solutions is “an important step towards the large-scale production of the next generation functional proteins from plants, without compromising on taste and quality.”

Allan Lihme, CEO of Lihme Protein Solutions has further reported that the company “could not wish for a better partner for our new processes, which are the crowning result of decades of technical development and commercial applications.” With upcycling having been branded as “the new recycling” by Innova Market Insights and Duynie Group being among Europe’s largest companies active in the valorization of co-products released in the food, beverage and biofuel industries, this partnership and current potato fruit water developments stand promising to both Lihme Protein Solutions and our ingredients community.

3) Summit Ag Investors, Wheat Protein Ingredients

Revealed last week, Summit Ag Investors, the investment affiliate of Summit Agricultural Group, has announced plans to build a new wheat protein ingredients plant in Phillipsbury, KS, the largest facility of its kind in North America. As a means to do so, the company acquired the Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy biorefinery and holds plans to retrofit the corn-based ethanol plant to process wheat starch into ethanol.

Summit Ag have invested over $200 million into the new location and conversion of the existing plant and expect that in two years the ingredients factory will become fully operational. Bruce Rastetter, Chief Executive Officer of Summit Agricultural Group, has stated that “recognizing the high demand for high protein ingredient and innovative feed products, coupled with renewable fuels that reduce our carbon footprint, this investment fits with what we have successfully done many times in Summit’s history.”

Rastetter furthers the conversation by adding that “The wheat protein we will produce is a healthy ingredient used widely within baked goods, pet food, and growing aquaculture feed markets. Today, wheat protein demand in the US is heavily reliant on imports and with consumers demanding more transparency about the origins of the food they eat, we see a real opportunity.”

President of Summit Ag Investors, Justin Kirchhoff, highlights the benefits this strategic move holds for the wide community by explaining how the investment “will bring additional jobs to rural America, increase the domestic supply of sustainable protein ingredients, reduce reliance on imports, and further reduce our carbon footprint through this proven process.” In all, it can be understood that Summit Agricultural Group’s search for new wheat protein ingredients likewise holds immense prominence when it comes to the progression of our ingredients community and the development of new and innovative plant-based proteins.