An essential nutrient for any diet

Proteins are the main building blocks for the human body and are an essential part of our daily diet. We consume proteins to build and repair our bodies. The market tendency is to offer sustainable sources of proteins and alternatives to traditional source of proteins like meat, poultry or fish.

Burger patties on grill

Market trends for proteins

Current food trends apart from traditionally supplied proteins provide the broad spectrum of protein-enriched (fortified) food and beverage. The rich in protein formulations are not only present in typical sport nutrition diets but go much beyond the athlete consumers.

With a rapidly growing population, the global demand for proteins in the food industry in the coming years is expected to grow even up to 80% in 2050 (source FAO). The type of protein and its availability as well as the changing behavior of consumers tends to put more pressure on plant proteins and innovative proteins from nontraditional sources like algae, insects, and new types of plants. The growing population of consumers who want to have a choice between meat and plant-based products creates booming numbers of new launches of vegetarian and vegan foods and beverages in many subcategories like meat analogs, bakery, beverage, sports nutrition.

Different types of protein

Proteins for industrial use derive from vegetable and animal sources. There are traditional types like soya and wheat commonly known and used over decades, but the market looks for alternatives. Thus a whole spectrum of plant-based proteins with a traditional source exists such as rice, pea, or potato proteins. We also see plant-based proteins being recognized as novel foods, such as hemp, sacha inchi, water lentil, fava bean, and algae. Even if the plant trend is strongly booming, animal proteins are still being used thanks to their unique nutritional value and properties. Products like gelatin and collagen, dairy proteins, or egg proteins play an important role to build proper recipes and value for the consumer.

For many consumers, an alternative source of proteins like plant proteins, pulses, nuts, or seeds became already part of the daily diet, with new sources of proteins like algae, fungi, or insects becoming more commonly used in the food industry.

Medium rare steak

Functionality of proteins in final food product

In the food industry, various proteins apart from the nutrient function play important technological roles as substances that help improve texture, consistency, yield, mouthfeel, and the overall quality of processed foods. The specific functionality of a protein is strictly determined by its molecular structure – defined by source and processing during the production of a protein.

Proteins, thanks to their multi functionalities like solubility, viscosity, water binding, emulsifying, gelation, cohesion, foaming, and elasticity, bring a specific impact to food systems. They are used in vegetarian and vegan formulations, sports nutrition, baked goods, beverages, processed meat and fish, soups and sauces, dressings, toppings, and many other food formulations. Food producers can benefit from using various proteins for the improvement of texture, stability, shelf life, appearance, taste, and smell.

Nutrition aspects of proteins are important to provide energy and building blocks for our bodies, for growth, repair, and the maintenance of good health. Animal proteins and some plant proteins like soya provide the full spectrum of amino acids needed by our organisms to maintain life, recover, and build body tissue.

Our Food experts can support you in finding the right protein for your product. If you want to learn more about proteins and the solutions we can offer you, please contact Brenntag Food & Nutrition.


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