Calling On Plants To Fulfill Protein’s Promise

by Melody M. Bomgardner,  Chemical & Engineering News

It used to be that supplemental protein was something only bodybuilders were keen on. But now, even most regular-shaped eaters report they are looking to add more protein to their shopping carts. The macronutrient is super hip thanks to low-carb diet trends and claims that protein can help build lean muscle, keep you full longer, and even help you lose weight.

This so-called health halo seems to persist even though Americans, in particular, already get more than enough protein in their meat-heavy diets. Many nutritionists contend that protein mania is merely a passing fad, but food ingredient firms disagree.

To pack a protein punch, food makers can turn to animal sources such as dried egg whites or milk-derived casein and whey. But the balance is tilting in favor of plant ingredients, a shift that benefits companies such as DuPont, Solazyme, and Roquette.

Executives with those firms say the shift has many causes: rising dairy prices, demand for new ingredients in food and beverages, concerns about sustainability, and the popularity of heart-healthy diets based on plants. Soy is king among plant proteins, but demand is also high for new ingredients derived from peas, other oil seeds, and even algae. Read the entire story.

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