Beyond meat and dairy analogues: What can plant-based protein do?

Plant-based proteins are often used in meat and dairy analogues, and on occasion in egg analogues. Their purpose is to provide flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan consumers with an experience which compares closely with meat and dairy in taste, texture and nutritional value.

However, there is far more potential for plant-based proteins than simply replacing meat and dairy. At Food Ingredients Europe (FIE), which took place in Frankfurt, Germany, FoodNavigator found a range of uses for plant-based proteins that went beyond meat and dairy analogues.

Roquette: Adding texture to meals

In June this year, French ingredients company Roquette opened a new food innovation centre​, located in its plant near the village of Lestrem, France. One of the main functions of the centre is to innovate using Roquette’s key ingredients, among them pea and wheat protein.

But Roquette wants to move beyond using these proteins simply in the context of meat and dairy analogues. It wants to widen the scope of what they can do. “We are less oriented on plant-based burger, plant-based sausage​,” Christine Beauvois, Head of Food Customer Technical Service, Europe at Roquette, told FoodNavigator. Instead, Roquette wants “something more complex. . . rather than having just a solution of plant-based alternatives.  I really believe that the consumer is more sensitive to the taste and texture​.”

For example, pea protein can be used in bread. “We have a dedicated pea protein which is not competing with the gluten, so that means you can enrich the bread with pea protein without having any interaction with the gluten from the wheat​,” Beauvois, told us.