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Plant-Based Proteins Provide Added Functionality

December 22, 2020 - by Charlotte Atchley, BakingBusiness.com - Plant-based proteins definitely provide a boost to the Nutrition Facts Panel, but these ingredients provide functionality as well. It may be tempting to pack a bakery product full of the trendiest new protein source, but bakers will be more successful if they reformulate with functionality in mind rather than simply jumping on the latest trend.

“Regardless of consumer popularity, it’s important for formulators to think of each application as unique, requiring specific plant proteins or blends of protein to achieve the best finished product,” said Paula Labine, marketing director, baking, milling and starch, ADM.

With so much innovation in this market, there is no shortage of plant sources and even ingredients derived from those sources. Each of these carries different functionalities to contribute to a final formula, and finding the right fit is the challenge.

“Not only is there a variety of plant-bases to choose from but even within a base, there are more functional ingredients to choose from,” said Ricardo Rodriguez, marketing manager, confectionery and bakery, Ingredion Inc. “For instance, you can choose a pea starch, pea flour, pea protein concentrate or a pea protein isolate, and each of them will provide different functionality and benefits.”

Chickpea flour can be very effective at replacing wheat flour in gluten-free tortillas while still providing browning. With fava bean concentrate, snack makers can improve the controlled expansion of an extruded puff. And pea protein isolate not only improves the protein profile of a cookie, but it also helps it stay softer longer.

“Addressing formulation challenges comes down to choosing the right plant-protein for the application,” said Erin Nese, technologist, commercial innovation acceleration, Ingredion.

The wealth of different plant-based ingredients may be traced back to the wide range of processing available for these raw materials. This range of processing options is what enables the tweaks to different ingredients to meet bakers’ needs.

“If you consider just how many different processing technologies have been applied to soybeans over the years and the sheer number of different functional ingredients that have been made from soybeans, you get an idea of the great potential there is in creating a wide variety of functional ingredients from plant-based materials,” said Jon Stratford, sales and marketing manager, Natural Products Inc..

Cargill’s joint venture with Puris Pea Protein provides a vertically integrated supply chain of pea ingredients, allowing it to offer a wide range of pea protein products. Cargill offers pea protein for several applications and different viscosities.

“Maybe you’re creating a snack or cracker that you want to prevent staling, so we’d use Puris Pea 860, but for a dough or pan bread that you want to control the rise, we’d use Puris Pea 870,” said Melissa Machen, senior technical services specialist, plant protein, Cargill. “That uniqueness of the product line is suited to this category and flexibility in functionality.” 

ADM offers two forms of its Arcon T texture pea protein that adds nutrition and improves texture and density of the finished product. One is a blend of pea protein and chickpea protein, and the other combines pea protein with navy beans. ADM also dived into hemp ingredients with hemp hearts and powders, which can be used in loaf breads, muffins, snack bars and cereals.

“They perform well in bakery applications when combined with other whole grains to achieve great taste, texture and nutritional value,” Ms. Labine said.

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