EC approval for new rapeseed-based plant protein and fibre powder

By Oliver Morrison contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getty/Iurii Garmash
Getty/Iurii Garmash

Related tags: Rapeseed oil, Protein

Ingredient company Avena Nordic Grain is celebrating receiving novel food authorisation from the European Commission for its rapeseed-based plant protein and fibre powder.

The company, part of Finnish food industry group Apetit, hopes the ingredient, called ‘BlackGrain from Yellow Fields’ will be used by food manufactures in a host of applications.

“Receiving the novel food authorisation for BlackGrain is a seal to several years of product development. It also gives us affirmation to continue our work in developing new rapeseed-based ingredients,”​ said Apetit CEO Esa Mäki.

Excellent nutritional values

BlackGrain is made using an existing raw material with excellent nutritional values: oil seed cakes, which include fibre, protein, good fats and a balanced composition of amino acids. Previously, oil seed cake has been processed into oil seed expellers and utilized as animal feed. Through development into partially defatted rapeseed powder suitable for human consumption, it becomes a value-added product.

“Utilizing oil seed expeller, produced during oil pressing, in human consumption cuts down the food chain, and is an action for responsible food choices,”​ said R&D Manager Kaisu Riihinen, who’s in charge of the ingredient development.

‘Ideal for a host of applications’

According to its manufacturer, BlackGrain is vegan, gluten-, GMO-, and soy-free and an ideal ingredient for various food applications.

“No matter where it’s used, the ingredient enhances the nutritional values of the end product. The rapeseed powder complies with numerous dietary claims,”​ said Riihinen.

The unique ingredient is described as ‘dark in colour and mild in taste’ which can be easily flavoured in different ways depending on the need. It works especially well with gain, pea protein and starch, but can be used in any type of processed breakfast cereals including cereal bars.

It can also feature in multigrain and gluten-free brown bread and rolls; any type of meat analogues including protein rich veggie patties and balls; any type of products made from ground meat shaped as small balls; any type of fried or extruded cereal, seed or root-based products; and any type of mixed cereal bars include those with nuts, raisins and dates.

What’s more, its high water absorption means it can be used as a texturiser in some formulations, Riihinen added.

“BlackGrain is a coarse and dark brown material that beside the nutritional value provides a high water absorption that can assist in the extrusion process of texturized vegetable proteins.

"Due to its physical characteristics, it mixes well with dry ingredients, for example with flours for baking or crunchy bites and dark breads, or in TVP from pea and fava bean. Its water absorption capacity enhances the moistness in the product, the texture of extruded product and its yield.”

“We are developing the current BlackGrain ingredient with a customer-oriented approach. We take our customers' requirements into consideration and help them find the best way of benefitting from BlackGrain in their product,”​ Riihinen added.

Lengthy product development and application processes

Apetit started developing BlackGrain in 2017, and the novel food application was handed to the Commission at the end of 2018.

After it received a favourable opinion of risk assessment by the European Food Safety Authority earlier this year, the authorization steps were continued with a risk management by the European Commission in July 2020.

“The Commission asked the EFSA for an opinion on the rape seed ingredient’s safety in June 2019. The EFSA gave BlackGrain its favourable opinion in July 2020, and the application was handed back to the Commission. It was processed swiftly within the applicable legislative timeframe.”

During the waiting period for the authorisation, Apetit has already taken steps in further development of BlackGrain.

“We will invest in initiating small scale production, in order to be able to test BlackGrain on a larger scale with potential clients. Additionally, we will continue to evaluate the possibilities regarding the commercializing of the ingredient,”​ Mäki said.

In order to market a novel food product in the EU, the product must receive a novel food authorisation from the European Commission. The goal of this process is to ensure the food safety of all new products. 

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