Plant proteins as food ingredients
Food proteins can be recovered from a wide range of raw materials. Leguminous plants such as lupines, peas, field beans, and soy beans have a particularly high protein content. However, other plants such as sunflowers, cereals, nuts, and pseudo-cereals have sufficient protein to be used as raw materials. We continuously optimize processes for recovering plant proteins and for their modification and functionalization. Proteins can be modified by thermal, physical, and enzymatic means in order to change their sensory and technofunctional properties. The way plant proteins are treated during their manufacture determines their properties. For example, enzymatic hydrolysis can be used to improve the solubility, emulsifying properties, and foaming activity of a protein ingredient. We customize the processing for different plant proteins.
Commercially available plant proteins differ in their quality and hence in their potential applications. Key quality criteria are not only the shelf-life, taste, and odor but also, for example, their viscosity properties and purity, as measured by the amount of byproducts that are present.
In 2014 our research on protein recovery from lupines was awarded the German Future Prize for Technology and Innovation. The great innovation here was to alter the natural bitter bean-like flavor of lupine protein to allow the manufacture of tasty vegan foods. Utilize our technical knowledge and use high-quality plant proteins as food ingredients!
Food product development with plant proteins
We test plant proteins in a wide range of food products. Successes to date include the market introduction of vegan products as alternatives to dairy products and also vegetarian meat surrogates.
The ingredients of each food product must have specific technofunctional properties. Plant proteins can be used as gelling agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, fat substitutes, or merely to replace animal protein sources such as eggs, milk, and meat. Plant proteins can replace synthetic food ingredients so facilitate so-called clean labeling.
The various protein preparations have different properties depending on the raw material and manufacturing process. Sensory optimization of foods containing plant proteins is a major challenge. The taste, texture, and mouth-feel can be controlled by the manufacturing process and further processing. Consumer studies are undertaken in collaboration with the Technical University of Munich.