- PLT Health Solutions partnered with Nutriati to introduce Artesa Textured Pulse Protein, a new ingredient made from yellow pea protein and Nutriati's Artesa Chickpea Flour, according to a release.
- The ingredient is intended for meat analogous solutions ranging from hamburgers and chicken to fish and pork. It can operate as a standalone ingredient and removes the need for manufacturers to use other texturizers and binders like egg whites, wheat gluten and methylcellulose.
- The companies said the textured pulse protein delivers consistent results to improve finished product quality and manufacturability. It is also clean label and can be listed simply as "textured pulse protein."
Pea protein is currently the darling of the plant-based space and is widely used as a base for alternative meat solutions. This new ingredient from Nutriati and PLT Health Solutions jumps on that bandwagon, while adding chickpea flour to improve products' water holding capacity and contribute to the resiliency of texture throughout processing, according to Food Navigator.
Improving texture is a key component of upgrading a product's taste, which is of paramount concern to companies in the crowded plant-based meat alternative space. The taste of plant-based protein, according to a white paper from ingredients company Kerry, remains the number one barrier for plant-based substitutes, with 73% of respondents saying alternatives should mimic the taste of meat.
In the taste arena, this new product may have a leg up on some other pulse-based proteins. Many flours made from legumes and pulse crops have tended to taste like their sources: gritty and beany. Nutriati's Artesa flour not only has a lower glycemic index than other wheat or pulse flours, but also a clean, neutral taste and a white color, the company said.
PLT told Food Ingredients First that not only does its new textured vegetable protein improve the taste of plant-based formulations, but it also delivers on quality and consistency. The ingredient's consistent texture and behavior is derived from Nutriati’s curated list of pulse suppliers, which adhere to tight specifications in order to produce chickpea flour that uniformly provides product functionality.
Because Artesa Textured Pulse Protein omits the need to add a variety of texturizers to the mix, it allows manufacturers to achieve clean label status with their formulations. In Kerry’s white paper, the company noted that almost a third of consumers said natural ingredients are a priority, and an equal amount said organic and no artificial preservatives are vital. This new protein option checks both of those boxes and gives the company a leg up on some of its competition.
The ingredient foregoes the use of any wheat, making it gluten-free. Pulse flours — made from beans, peas and lentils — are a popular gluten-free option, projected to expand at an annual growth rate of more than 12% through 2024, according to Grand View Research.
Even with all the comparative advantages of this textured vegetable protein, this product will face fierce competition. Israel Chemicals, Ltd is developing its Rovitaris protein technology for the meat alternatives market. Ingredion launched Vitessence Pulse 1803, its first pea protein isolate in the pulse protein line. DuPont Nutrition & Health — which will soon be owned by International Flavors & Fragrances — has a line of soy and pea protein nuggets.
Despite the immense competition, there is also a large demand for ingredient solutions from manufacturers looking to release a competitive product onto the market. While big companies in the space have already established their recipes, other companies looking into creating plant-based products may be looking for ingredients that differentiate them.
Nutriati and PLT Health Solutions have the opportunity to put themselves on the map by stepping in and pitching their new product to companies looking for a clean-label protein alternative that will help differentiate product formulations.