Cost-Effective Creation of Clean Label Plant-Based Protein

Technology Overview

The presented technology creates textured protein fibres for the plant-based meat market without the use of extrusion equipment. Instead a protein concentrate, isolate or flour can be “spun” into plant-based fibres using minimal ingredients and processing.

The current textured plant-protein ingredients for plant-based meat analogues involve high or low moisture extrusion processes, which results in high machinery and energy costs. As these processes are expensive, this makes it difficult for plant-based meat alternatives to be cost competitive with meat products. A secondary trend is the drive to create clean label and allergen-free products (non-soy or wheat). The protein fibres created using this technology address these trends as:

  • The process is cost-effective, requiring less machinery and less energy intensive than extrusion.
  • The protein fibres are clean label (only 2 ingredients)
  • The proteins fibres can be created from allergen free options (i.e rice protein, pea protein, faba bean protein etc.)

Technology Features & Specifications

This company has developed a novel process for the creation of protein fibres without the use of extrusion. Each ingredient however must be optimised for the process due to the chemistry of different protein sources/flours in combination with the process reactions. The technology will be customised for each client based on their starting material which can include the following:

  • Flour (i.e. finely ground plant-material)
  • Protein concentrate (plant-based)
  • Protein isolate (plant-based)

Potential Applications

The highlighted technology is designed for the following segments:

  • Plant-based meat or fish analogues
  • As a meat extender

Market Trends and Opportunities

The plant-based protein market is estimated to account for a value of USD 18.5 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at CAGR of 14.0% from 2019, to reach a value of USD 40.6 billion by 2025 (Market & Markets).

This is growing category, as now more consumers are identifying themselves as flexitarians. Flexitarians consumes a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish. Innova market insights report that in the total population 38% of consumers in the USA are flexitarian. In many European countries this is higher with the UK at 53%, the Netherlands at 67% and Germany at 69%. This is due to several factors:

  • Concerns regarding the sustainability of meat products
  • Related health issues from consuming diets high in meat
  • Animal welfare considerations

Customer Benefits

The protein fibre provides the following benefits to the client:

• The fibres are clean label with minimal ingredients, which aligns with consumer expectations
• Various and new protein sources can be employed
• Fibre production energy and machinery costs are lower than extrusion-based processing equalling cost-competitive ingredient production

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