Power Of Plant Proteins

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Plant proteins such as beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and soy are some of nature’s treasures. By Farah Nazurah

Many plant-based proteins contain components that can help protect against chronic disease and promote overall bodily health. Consumers in Asia are growing more health-conscious and thus, boosting market demand. Rod Quin, Head of Global Business Unit, Food, Roquette, shares more on the plant-based ingredients market in Asia Pacific.


Where do you see the plant-based ingredients market going in Asia in the next few years?

Plant-based ingredients across the region are growing rapidly as people realise the preventative health and wellness benefits of plants. These plant-based ingredients include all the nutrients the human body needs to live and thrive.
There is a growing customer demand for plant-based proteins in Asia, especially for new innovative sources like pea protein, driven by health consciousness, consumer concerns and sustainability. Indeed, one of the hottest food topics today is protein and how to boost the protein content of mainstream foods and drinks. Today’s consumers understand that proteins are beneficial to build and retain muscle mass for a healthy body. Soy protein is well known throughout Asia Pacific with emerging alternatives that include rice and pea.
The next major trend we see is the less publicised benefits of dietary fibre which only comes from plants. Enhancing everyday foods and beverages with fibre is also a health-promoting option for brand owners.
The company aims to address these challenges through its plant-based ingredients (such as its Nutralys pea protein and Nutriose soluble fibre) and its research in the food, nutrition and health sectors, as well as meet the demand for high performance products while enhancing sustainability and health benefits.


What are consumers leaning towards when it comes to plant-based ingredients and food?

People inherently know that fruits and vegetables are good for them so we are seeing consumers lean towards plant sources they recognise from their childhood, such as rice, peas, beans, oats and potatoes.

Plant-based products are healthier and more reliable. The facts are that plants contain not just the key macronutrients but also a huge number of micronutrients needed for optimal health.

Along with better health outcomes, consumers are also looking for authentic food experiences which can include reconnecting food to its origins. We see plant-based ingredients as synonymous to living a healthy lifestyle as we push for improving the health and wellbeing of consumers around the world by offering the best of nature. In addition, plant-based ingredients offer complementary solutions for manufacturers with many benefits, such as nutritional, health and technological benefits. 

Why is the company heavily investing in pea protein?

We see pea-based ingredients, along with ingredients from corn, wheat and potatoes, as innovative sources that will help address the specific health and dietary challenges here in Asia.
Pea protein offers many advantages to farmers, customers and consumers, as its production is environmentally friendly and it is a great source of protein, with numerous applications in gluten-free foods, vegetarian foods, sports and slimming foods, senior nutrition and clinical nutrition.
Pea protein answers the growing customer demand for plant-based proteins in Asia, especially for new innovative sources like pea protein , driven by health consciousness—which includes demand for high nutritional value, dietary supplements, sports nutrition, dietary needs, meat alternatives—consumer concerns (non-GMO and non-allergen), and sustainability.

Are there any challenges that the company faces in producing plant-based ingredients that are palatable to consumers?

Most plant-based ingredients are flavour neutral, allowing them to be used in a wide variety of food and beverages applications.

Traditional bitter flavours associated with plant proteins are becoming less of a consumer threshold challenge as research and development has highlighted how to limit their development in the field and during food processing. Our customer technical service experts can work with customers to ensure each product has the right taste and texture, to improve the taste experience for consumers.