Plant-based flours and proteins - a healthy and promising alternative
Protein-rich foods of plant origin are becoming increasingly popular with consumers – not only among vegans or vegetarians. More and more people are following an alternative lifestyle. The healthy way of life includes reducing meat consumption or absorption of animal protein for the sake of the environment and health. Instead, they switch to alternative plant-based protein sources. This group of consumers is known as 'flexitarian'.
Plant-based nutrition comes within health
A high-protein nutrition without the consumption of animal products – Nowadays, this high demand is not only claimed by vegans or vegetarians– it affects us all. For the sake of our health, regardless of the individual nutrition, it becomes more beneficial to orientate our nutrition plant-based and less animal-based.
The wide range of substitutes from vegetarian burgers to spaghetti bolognese to vegan schnitzels or sausages points out that we are in the midst of change.
Although animal proteins are biologically valuable, they are also rich in unhealthy saturated fats. These fats can lead to increased cholesterol levels and other civilizational diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, gout or heart disease. The German Society for Nutrition, or DGE for short, recommends limiting meat consumption to 300 to 600 grams per week, including sausages. In other countries, for instance the Netherlands, France, Great Britain or Scandinavia, the reference values are similar.
Plant-based proteins - a resource-efficient raw material
However, it’s not just the health benefits that are decisive for the switch to a plant-based nutrition. In fact, the ecosystem is less harmed by plant-based proteins, than by animal proteins. According to a study by WWF Switzerland1, which examined a correlation between different nutrition and the effect on climate, it becomes clear that less meat consumption, effects our environment positive.
But what exactly does that mean?
An exclusive nutrition with plant-based protein of approx. 1.124 kg causes half as much CO2 as people with an animal-based nutrition. Here, it is on average about 2,350 kg of Co2 per year.
Nevertheless, the main point is not only the try to diminish CO2 emissions. One of the main points, besides climate and emissions, is the lack of surface for forage cultivation and husbandry. If the world's population continued to grow at a rate as before, the supply of animal protein would have to be about 50 percent higher by 2050 to avoid a supply gap. Obviously, this won’t be possible with an animal-based nutrition, which is why consumers are consciously integrating plant-based protein into their daily nutrition.
Plant-based flours and proteins by OPW Ingredients GmbH
In particular, high-quality and special ingredients for protein-based foods and substitute products are plant flours or vegetable proteins. OPW Ingredients produces cold-pressed vegetable oils and highly concentrated plant proteins from oilseeds, for example almonds. The raw material for our almond protein production is the protein-rich press cake that is generated during almond oil extraction. As a high-quality vegan raw material, our plant protein is used in numerous food applications, including spreads, meat substitutes or vegan cheese alternatives (read more here). The plant protein is a true nutrient booster with a protein content of over 50 percent and a high content of vitamin C. Additionally almond protein contains the essential amino acid lysine.
Functional ingredients with added value
The use of plant proteins in food production offers a high amount of benefits. Plant flours increase the protein content of the food. Furthermore, they also provide a higher fiber content and valuable minerals. Especially the snack market offers functional food. It can be observed that the demand of functional foods arises. Nowadays, more than 50 percent of consumers make their purchasing decisions for those products, that offer them added value in the form of health benefits.
According to a worldwide study by the Nielsen market research institute, 43 percent of respondents prefer snack products that contain only natural ingredients. Nearly a third of all subjects consider the importance of less salt, sugar, fat and calorie as possible and of rich in protein, fiber and whole grains.
Attractive marketing through Health Claims
Protein-rich foods are also attractive in terms of marketing opportunities. Under certain conditions, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), statements with health relevance are also permitted.
If at least 12 percent of the protein content of a food product is accounted by the total energy content, it may be indicated that the food product is a source of protein or information which is likely to be of the same importance to the consumer.
In addition, a food product may be advertised as highly protein-containing, provided that it has at least 20 percent of the total calorific value.
Whether as a food manufacturer or a consumer, we are in a comfortable position to use a wide range of protein sources that provide our body with important nutrients, or to improve the texture or taste of a particular food. Nowadays, we can decide which protein sources we consume and which lifestyle we follow. And if we change our lifestyle to a healthy plant-based nutrition, while individuals, our society and our planet can benefit from it, I guess it’s your time to decide. The ball is in your court.
Would you like to get more information?
If you need any information about plant-based proteins or the use of plant proteins in food production, the OPW Ingredients GmbH team is always at your disposal.
We will gladly send you free samples, offers or product data sheets on request.
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We look forward to your enquiry.
1 WWF Schweiz (2016). Pflanzen – alles andere ist Beilage