Spotlight on Plant-based Protein Trends

Plant Protein Trends

Plant-based, vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming more popular throughout the world. For health, ethical and environmental reasons, consumers are adopting a more plant-based and meat-restricted diet. According to the Plant-based Foods Association, retail sales of plant-based foods in the US grew 11.4 percent in 2019, bringing the total plant-based market value to $5 billion.1 Furthermore, investment firm UBS predicts that sales of plant-based protein and meat alternatives will increase to a staggering $85 billion by 2030.2 What an exciting time for product developers and food technologists to create innovative plant-based protein functional foods and beverages.

Plant-based is defined as mostly or entirely derived from plants, including vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, with few or no animal products. Ingredients from these food sources are healthy and nutritious, and many are high in protein and fiber. The challenge lies in developing a product with the right combination of plant-based ingredients that mimics the taste, texture and mouthfeel of meat, and presents the consumer with a positive, sensorial experience.

Two well-known, hugely successful market examples demonstrate the wide range of ingredients that can be used to develop a successful plant-based product:

  1. The Beyond Burger combines 18 ingredients: water, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, rice protein, natural flavors, cocoa butter, mung bean protein, methylcellulose, potato starch, apple extract, pomegranate extract, salt, potassium chloride, vinegar, lemon juice concentrate, sunflower lecithin and beet juice extract.

  2. The Impossible Burger contains 21 ingredients including water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, natural flavors, potato protein, methylcellulose, yeast extract, cultured dextrose, modified food starch, soy leghemoglobin, salt, soy protein isolate, mixed tocopherols (Vitamin E), zinc gluconate, thiamine hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), sodium ascorbate (Vitamin C), niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), riboflavin (Vitamin B2) and Vitamin B12.

If you are looking for ideas to create the next plant-based market success story, here are some guidelines and ingredient ideas, many from NP Nutra’s extensive Plant Protein portfolio:

  • Start with good quality protein like pea, brown rice or tara;
  • Consider including sprouted protein for enhanced digestion, like adzuki or lentil;
  • Include a fiber-rich ingredient like hemp;
  • Add some texture and color like beetroot, dragonfruit or pomegranate;
  • Use a healthy fat like hemp oil;
  • Use a binding or gelling product like chia;
  • Include low-carb keto ingredients like cauliflower or kale;
  • Try sneaking in some other fruit and vegetable ingredients to increase the nutrient profile;
  • To enhance the flavor profile of your product, experiment with herbs and spices like mesquite, cayenne, celery seed, garlic or ginger;

Don’t forget snack foods and desserts – you can include our plant-based protein ingredients in yogurts, puddings, bars, cakes, cookies, biscuits, muffins and even sweet breads.

Always reach out to NP Nutra’s sales team for advice on which NP Nutra® products are best suited to your product development needs and projects, or check our All Products page.