Product innovation with pulse proteins – The AM Nutrition expert view

Laura Gil Martens

Bridge2Food interviewed Dr. Laura Gil Martens, DVM, PhD, Chief Nutritionist and R&D Manager at AM Nutrition AS from Norway. She said: The world demand for food will rise dramatically in the coming years. One of the biggest challenges for humanity will be to develop healthy, nutritious, affordable and sustainable foods for the growing world population. In 2016, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) declared “Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025”. The goal of the program will be to intensify efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, and to ensure that the whole world population will have access to healthier and more sustainable food alternatives. An increase in the production and utilization of plant–based proteins, represents, indeed, one of the most viable measures for facing this challenge. A positive shift to vegetable proteins will result in improved nutrition, better health status of the population and would be an important tool for mitigation of main life-style diseases.

In the segment of vegetable proteins, it is particularly pulses the group of crops that present the greatest potential with respect to partial or total replacement of animal proteins. This is due to Pulses` high nutritional value, low fat content, presence of bioactive compounds with well-documented physiological effects and due to low environmental impact given by their low carbon footprint and improvement of soil quality. Pulse-based proteins are, in addition, GMO free, gluten free and not reported as high allergens.

Pulse proteins are available in the global market of ingredients as native proteins (pulse concentrates), modified proteins (pulse isolates and extruded pulse proteins) and texturized proteins. The latest, with large growth potential in dietary regimes for flexitarians, vegetarian and vegans, as well as to those concerned about following a healthy nutrition.

Pulse proteins, pulse starches and pulse fiber fractions are reported to be excellent ingredients in a number of food segments, not only due to their high nutritional value but also for their high functionality; excellent water and oil binding capacities, among others. Bakery products, breakfast cereals, pasta, meat products, represent some of the broad applications segments in which pulses fit so well, especially in sport nutrition and high protein diets for infants and the elderly.

The market for vegetable proteins, and specially pulse proteins, is expected to grow in the coming years as a continuation of the “green revolution”, gluten free and GMO free trends; as well as for sustainability and ethical concerns.

“The National Action Plan for Better Nutrition (2017-2021)”, recently launched by the Norwegian government, highlights the importance of increasing the intake of vegetables and fruits in the daily dietary regime of Norwegian consumers. One important ongoing project in the area is “Green meat” (“Grønt kjøtt” in Norwegian), project funded by the Norwegian Research Council, aiming to develop sustainable and healthy food alternatives based on 50% minced meat and, ideally, 50% vegetables, the latest downgraded vegetables due to deviations in shape or dimension but equally fresh, nutritious and healthy. The first product was successfully launched into the Norwegian food market in 2016, and consisted of “meat balls” containing about 33% diverse vegetables.

Another product with commercial success in the global market of food ingredients is AM Nutrition`s Peatex®. Peatex® product range is based on dry yellow peas (Pisum Sativum) and is developed by the use of extrusion cooking technology.  Peatex® is an excellent water and oil binder having a broad spectrum of applications. Peatex® is especially suitable as functional ingredient in meat products, such as in sausages and in reformed hams.

More interest in proteins?
Then take a quick look here at the new programme of the 10th Protein Summit 2017, 26-28 September 2017 (France). This great 5-in-1 Summit will bring together 400 leaders, 75 speakers and 60 exhibitors in the food, petfood and feed industry from retail, brands, ingredients, processing, research and universities. An ideal place to shape new networks and business. The 5 Summits are:
– Plant-based Foods Summit
– High Protein Foods Summit
– Protein Ingredients Summit
– Protein Processing Summit
– Protein 2030 Summit
Or download your brochure here.

Till 31 August new applications can be made for the Protein Awards for the best new category, new product, ingredient or disruptive innovation.