The challenges facing soft drink manufacturers are diverse due to the highly specialized and varied nature of the current marketplace. There is high pressure to produce innovative products and there are a growing number of health-conscious and discerning consumers. There is currently a veritable boom in the energy drink, sports drink, and wellness drink segments.
Proteins are potentially very valuable functional ingredients for soft drinks. "Refreshing" soft drinks rich in plant proteins are not yet commercially available. One reason for this is that many proteins are not soluble in acidic media.
Lupines, however, contain a globulin fraction that is highly soluble in this pH range and also possesses excellent functional and nutritive properties. Lupines do though contain another ingredient, phytic acid, which has diverse adverse effects. The complex-forming properties of phytic acid remove valuable minerals, suppress enzymes, and impair the digestibility of the proteins. Up until now, it has usually been complex and costly to separate phytic acid from proteins.
The objective of the present research project is to make the protein fraction of lupines available for use as a soft drink beverage base. Selection of an innovative combination of cereal malt (as a natural source of carbohydrates, enzymes, and flavors) and microorganisms having phytase activity will allow phytic acid reduced protein extracts to be manufactured in a two-stage mashing and fermentation process. The main parameters here are the manufacture of the acid-soluble protein extract and malt, the mashing process, and the final fermentation process.
By optimizing these steps (malting, extraction, mashing, and fermentation), a protein-rich berverage base will be manufactured from lupine protein and cereal malt. This base will have attractive sensory properties and will simultaneously be beneficial for health and nutrition. The scientific approach being adopted here is to design the processing steps such that there is maximum reduction of phytic acid, whilst preserving the functional and valuable ingredients.