Roquette breaks 60% protein barrier with pea isolate crisps

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Roquette, Pea protein, Meat substitutes

Roquette has developed a ‘simple composition’ pea isolate crisp to meet nutritional requirements for higher protein and lower carbohydrate foods.

French ingredients maker Roquette Frères has patented a process for manufacturing an extruded Pea Protein Crisp with a high protein content.

According to Roquette’s international patent application, the invention aims to fill a gap in the market for extruded pea protein crisps with a pea protein content above 60% (by weight on dry matter) that has both a simple composition and allows for a wider choice of starch sources.

Meeting demand for high protein, low carbohydrate

The Pea Protein Crisp is manufactured using the extrusion method. The process, which involves forcing pre-mixed ingredients through a perforated plate and cutting food items into specific shapes and designs, is used in a wide variety of ‘staple’ foods.

Well known examples of extruded foodstuffs include some pasta such as macaroni, confectionery, certain bread shapes such as bread sticks and croutons, churros, many breakfast cereals, and ready-to-eat snacks.

While such foods are typically composed of either starchy or proteinous ingredients – and indeed “starch-based materials have proved to be excellent materials for produced extruded foods of desirable organoleptic properties”​, said Roquette – companies are increasingly looking to reduce starch content in favour of protein.

“Nutritional requirements have emphasised the desirability of relatively high protein levels in human foods, in preference to carbohydrates, such as starch,” ​wrote the ingredients supplier in its patent application. “This has led food manufacturers to investigate the manufacture of relatively high protein extruded foodstuffs.” ​ 

However, to date, these companies have been unable to achieve over 55% (by weight of dry matter) protein with a simple composition, stated Roquette.

Tuber starch, such as tapioca starch, “may offer a real solution” ​to attaining a simple composition with high protein content, yet “its restricted choice can lead to problems of availability or even price”, ​the ingredient manufacturer continued.

Roquette is investing in new textured vegetal proteins for the plant-based meat sector © GettyImages/vaaseenaa

Made out of a combination of pea protein isolate, pregelatinized starch, calcium carbonate and optionally sodium metabisulfite, Roquette’s crisps can be extruded to form crunchy curls or puff shapes, or to be used as protein inclusions.

As a finished food product, they can be used as a snack food or cereal, and as an ingredient, the crisps can be used in nutritional bars or confectionery.

Meeting ‘booming’ demand

The invention is part of the company’s portfolio of approximately 70 patents filed over the years in the sector of pea-based products and their applications, a company spokesperson told FoodNavigator.

“Our focus today is in the development of new textured vegetal proteins for the plant-based meat sector. Our objective is to contribute to the end-product improvement in terms of taste and texture, diversity in meat alternative types, improved nutritional profile.”

The firm boasts the largest range of pea protein ingredients available, and is investing time and money into the development of textures pea protein ingredients to best meet the ‘booming’ needs of the plant-based meat market, the spokesperson continued.

Roquette acquired a plant protein extrusion asset​ last September in Horst, the Netherlands, to accelerate the development of plant-based protein alternatives to the meat substitute market’s soy-based offerings. And last month, the ingredients maker announced plans to launch a textured fava bean protein​ in 2020.

“The meat-free sector is booming and we are very active in the development of the next plant-based textured protein solutions,” ​we were told.

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