Inside every hemp seed is the valuable inner core, appropriately called the 'hemp heart.' The nutrients found within have compelling potential and are the proprietary source for a new plant-based ingredient, called V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein by Applied Food Sciences. While their 70% protein, complete with all nine essential amino acids and omega-3s, presents an attractive alternative to whey proteins, it is the neutral flavor and near-white color that provides a significant formulation advantage over other plant proteins. This article dives deeper into the value that lies within the lesser-known hemp heart.
Nutrition unique to hemp seeds
Hemp seeds have a lot of nutritional promise. They contain more protein wt/wt than almonds, chia, or flax seeds and are abundant in amino acids. Unique to hemp seeds is its fatty acid profile combined with high quality, digestible protein.
Essential Amino Acids: Hemp seeds are a complete plant-based protein containing 20 amino acids, including all nine essential amino acids.
Protein: Hemp seeds contain 50% more protein, ounce-for-ounce, than almonds, chia seeds, or flax seeds. Hemp is exceptionally high in Edestin and Albumin, globular proteins that are easily digested and easy for our bodies to put to use.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The fats in hemp seeds are almost entirely polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), fatty acids that our bodies can't make, and which are essential for us to consume in our food. Omega-6 (linoleic acid) and Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) fatty acids are both PUFAs, and while Omega-6s are common in many vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, hemp stands out for delivering the perfect balance of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fatty acids of approximately 3:1.
Vitamins & Minerals: Hemp seeds are rich in minerals necessary for our health: containing micronutrients like vitamin E, vitamins B1 and B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and more. Some of these can be hard to obtain enough of on a plant-based diet – but hemp delivers uniquely high amounts of these nutrients.
Diet & Allergens: Hemp seeds are an attractive plant-based alternative to whey protein as it is void of many common allergens and tends to meet the requirements of popular diets such as vegan, paleo, keto, etc. While whey and casein are prominent sources of protein, they are both derived from milk, and many consumers experience digestibility issues such as bloating, gas, or stomach cramps. Additionally, hemp hearts support a 'Clean Eating' lifestyle in that they are grown without the use of pesticides, are minimally processed, and require much less water to produce than any meat.
Hemp hearts vs. hemp seeds
Traditional hemp seed ingredients have a green pigment that is not attractive in finished products. They also tend to have a bitter flavor and pungent off-notes that are difficult to mask. Lastly, there is a noticeable mouthfeel to many hemp seed ingredients out there. So, while hemp seeds can deliver nutritional excellence in foods, they are generally not favorable from a sensory experience. But what happens when you shed the seed's shell and go right to its white hemp heart?
Hemp hearts are the dehulled white inner parts of the hemp seed. The hemp hearts are the nutritional powerhouse full of proteins, amino acids, and fatty acids that are ordinarily reserved for sprouting new hemp plants. The removal of the shell presents a much cleaner ingredient that is white, instead of green, and is void of bitter flavor typically associated with hemp seeds. It is through a proprietary process that Applied Food Sciences is able to source these core nutrients and produce two of their latest functional ingredients.
V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein
Thanks to a compelling sensory profile, V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein has great potential above many other plant-based ingredients. With a smooth texture, complementary nutritional value, and built-in consumer familiarity with hemp, this ingredient can make products even more enticing. The color and flavor are quite neutral, allowing it to add a nutritional boost but without interfering with the taste or appearance of the product formulation. At 70% protein, only 28.5g of V-70™ per serving yields 20g protein in the finished product, making it easy to hit protein targets for nutritional labels. V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein has a high water-binding capacity. While it is not fully water-soluble, it emulsifies with exceptional performance overcoming notable challenges from many plant proteins.
Sensory Profile: Near white color, clean- smooth mouthfeel with no grittiness, neutral flavor – no need for expensive masking agents.
Nutrition: V-70™ contains 70% protein complete with all nine essential amino acids. The ingredient contains 12% fat, high in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and at least 25% of RDA for iron, magnesium, and zinc per ounce.
Applications: Because protein from hemp hearts have such a minimal impact on the sensory of a formulation, V-70™ is great in nutritional bars, meat analogues, protein beverage blends, bakery products, alternative milks and sports nutrition products.
V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil
V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil comes from pressing non-GMO, North American grown hemp seed hearts. It retains a balanced ratio of Omega-6 : Omega-3 fatty acids making it an attractive option for many food products. Abundant in other micronutrients like vitamin E and oil-soluble bioactives like beta-sitosterol, V-ONE™ can be a wonderful compliment when formulated in salad dressings, spreads, and dips.
Sensory Profile: V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil is a light, straw-colored oil that has a mild nutty flavor, similar to pine nuts.
Nutrition: V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil comes from pressing only non-GMO, U.S. grown hemp seed hearts. We remove the shells before pressing to reach the light color and neutral flavor that makes V-ONE™ so versatile. Utilizing a proprietary process starting with hemp hearts, we make V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil without the use of hexane or other typical refining steps for oils.
Applications: V-ONE™ Hemp Heart Oil offers a unique combination of function and flavor valuable for culinary (salad dressings, spreads, and dips), skincare, and other uses that will benefit from the nutritional advantages of hemp seed oil combined with a light color and flavor. It is best suited to lower temperature cooking due to the delicate nature and large content of Omega 3 fatty acids.
About Applied Food Sciences
Applied Food Sciences brings inspiration and innovation to functional ingredients for companies in the natural products industry. Quality is transparent through organic farming, ethical sourcing, and sustainability. AFS cares about every stakeholder from rural farmers to the largest companies in the world. V-70™ and V-ONE™ are set to make their market debut in June 2020. Inquire with AFS for more information or to pre-order samples.