Ingredion targets flexitarians with high-protein pulse flours

By Caroline SCOTT-THOMAS contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pulse flours could be of interest to consumers looking for high-protein foods without animal products
Pulse flours could be of interest to consumers looking for high-protein foods without animal products

Related tags: Wheat, Flour

Pulse flours could provide a plant-based protein boost for baked goods, snacks and pasta – tapping into growing demand for non-animal-derived protein, says Ingredion.

The ingredients firm has introduced ten pulse-based flours made from faba bean (also known as fava or broad bean), chickpea, yellow lentil or yellow pea. The flours vary in their starch and protein content and are available in three particle grades – coarse, fine and high starch – to make them suitable for different applications, including bread, cakes, pasta, extruded snacks and pastries.

Mona Rademacher, European marketing manager for the company’s wholesome & bakery division, told FoodNavigator that a growing cohort of flexitarian consumers was looking for alternatives to animal-derived protein sources, and this was a key target market.

“Some want to eat less meat for health reasons or to lower their environmental impact, but also because meat is expensive,”​ she said. “…We see a rise in consumer interest in nutritious foods, particularly those that are high in protein.”

The faba bean flour contains the most protein, with 25% in the dry matter, compared to less than half that for traditional wheat flour. To claim that a food is a source of protein under EU law, at least 12% of its energy must come from protein.

Gluten-free nutrition

The flours’ gluten-free status was also important, she said, particularly for food manufacturers looking to add nutrition back into gluten-free products.

“We want to reach gluten-free producers who want to improve their products from what they are today. With these flours, you have the opportunity to add back protein that you lost when taking out gluten…This is an area where we are seeing more and more demand in the market.”

In addition, the various grades of flour could improve on the dry, crumbly textures often associated with gluten-free formulations based on rice flour and starch blends, and pulse flours could be used as a point of differentiation for snacks and bakery products.

High protein +

The flours – which are being sold under Ingredion’s Homecraft brand name – could also be used in non-gluten-free foods to boost protein content, Rademacher said, especially useful for manufacturers of wheat-based products, like crackers for example, seeking a ‘source of protein’ claim.

Alongside the flours, the company has launched a range of pulse-based protein concentrates from faba bean, yellow lentil and yellow pea, under its Vitessence brand. These contain 55-60% protein and are intended to boost plant-based protein in baked goods, snacks, cereals and meat substitutes, while avoiding soy, which requires allergen labelling.

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