Challenges of Applications Made With Plant Protein
The demand for protein consumption is ever-increasing. Proteins are an integral aspect of the human diet, after all. However, animal protein cannot feed all mouths in the years to come. The imbalanced landscape and unstable promote everyone to look toward alternative and sustainable protein sources. These are plant-based proteins.
Although plant protein has been significantly mending significant gaps in the population, its applications encompass numerous challenges. If they are so effective, why haven’t they monopolized the market? It’s due to a gamut of plant protein implementation difficulties, from production to consumption.
However, the best part is, that the food experts are gradually overcoming the significant challenges and making their best efforts to make plant proteins mainstream.
Overall, it’s a complex paradigm. So, to bring more clarity, this post will discuss challenges in plant protein application and how to overcome them. Let’s get started!
Meeting customer expectations – the underlying challenge
Replacing the protein content of animal-based edibles is not everything. The plant proteins should match the taste, texture, and color expectations of customers as well.
Plant proteins are abundant. Since they are by-products of existing natural foods, these substances can feed everyone without any difficulties. Additionally, the plant proteins are exclusively tailored according to consumers’ health goals like muscle growth, better digestion, and optimum weight control.
Despite these favorable factors, meeting customer expectations has become increasingly challenging for plant protein producers. Consumers want all the benefits of plant proteins without compromising on the taste and appearance of animal protein.
So, meeting customer expectations is the most significant challenge among plant protein producers. However, overcoming these challenges is also simple, provided we know all scientifically-thought methods.
Moving on, let’s discuss the probable solutions to overcome the existing challenges in plant protein application.
Overcoming the existing challenges in plant protein application
We already discussed checking on all customer expectations is a crucial challenge in plant protein application. Although overcoming the problems isn’t a cakewalk, we have probable solutions to choose, process, and overcome the hurdles. Let’s look at these points in detail right below!
1. Mending the ‘gap’
We can only understand the customer expectation and provide them with what they want if we fully understand animal-based and plant-based proteins. It’s better to focus on how plant-based proteins differ from animal ones. For instance, microalgae are significantly popular as emulsifiers and foaming agents. However, we cannot use them and eliminate the fishy odor it produces. Similarly, they produce a red or green undertone, creating a significant deviation from animal-based proteins.
Looking at the large problems, the situation worsens. Although the industry knows the use of insects to produce a protein-rich and high-value biomass from low-value waste, their adoption has been controversial in the Western world. So, the producers grind them and accept the brownish undertone and the decomposition of protein into amino acids.
Once these aspects become mainstream with 100% acceptance worldwide, plant proteins will cater to all user expectations. However, innovations will still create controversies and obstruct the producers from attending to customer expectations.
2. Choosing an exclusively tailored plant-based protein
As already mentioned, plant proteins are abundant. They can meet various consumer demands and food patterns successfully. And the best part is, that they are more functional than animal proteins. However, proteins from different plant sources solve various customer requirements. For instance, Whey protein breaks down more quickly and forms the best substitute for muscle building. Besides, it hardly becomes more viscous in the intestines. So, it’s ideal for fitness freaks and health-conscious consumers.
In contrast, casein has different properties. It stays inside the gut for a prolonged period than whey proteins and breaks down slowly. So, it is an ideal constituent in the diets of consumers aiming at long-term recovery. Its breaking down process is slower than whey protein and pea protein. It’s the slowest of all proteins but best for different purposes in many instances.
Let’s discuss pea protein now! Pea proteins have a different target of action. They are easy to break down than casein but have a slower process than whey proteins.
What’s the takeaway here? It means the choice of protein is crucial to meet customer expectations efficiently.
3. Mimicking animal protein taste and texture
The most significant reason behind consumers not accepting plant proteins is their deviation from animal protein texture and taste.
What’s the most prominent cause of such different protein properties? The answer is synthesizing and processing methods. During processing plant proteins, we tend to overlook the flavors and decreased solubility. Other deviations, if any, are due to these techniques only.
How to solve them? We can bring back the flavors and textures by identifying the manufacturing processes causing such a deviation. The best way to mimic animal protein properties is to enhance the techniques and eliminate processes that potentially cause deterioration.
Does that mean we need new techniques and machinery? No! We can use the conventional processes with enhanced ingredients for plant-based protein. However, the steps can be fine-tuned to make them favorable for non-deviated plant proteins while checking on all healthy parameters and consumer expectations. History has numerous instances where plant protein caused the juiciness and suppleness of meat for customers who wished to shift from animal protein to vegan alternatives.
4. Blending proteins efficiently
If you closely inspect the plant protein food items, they have a blend of multiple proteins. Apart from helping replicate the animal protein’s taste, a mix of protein causes a healthy, nutritional, and complete food profile. So, choosing the ideal proteins and blending them well is essential to focus on a specific attribute and create it organically.
Choosing suitable proteins is simple. You can get multiple resources to help you identify the correct features of a plant protein and recognize the other protein to create a specific attribute. It means you can research and study to find which proteins produce what properties. It becomes simple to emphasize a specific feature like meat texture and choose the best-fit proteins to blend and create the feature you chose.
Thus, blending and choosing the right proteins is significant to meet customer expectations and monopolizing plant protein in the human diet.
5. Processing conditions
Finally, one challenge remains unaddressed. Protein properties change due to various processing conditions. You might choose the right proteins and blend them successfully. However, the processing methods can alter the behavior of plant proteins leading to their deviation from the standard attributes customers seek.
So, the next step to increase the acceptance rate of plant proteins among consumers is checking which processes deteriorate plant protein texture and taste. Eliminating, replacing, or fine-tuning them is the best way to safeguard protein properties and ensure they don’t change inside the manufacturing unit.
Plant protein is a sustainable substitute for animal protein. So, it’s the best answer to increasing hunger demands worldwide. However, fulfilling customer expectations and providing them with plant protein having similar taste, texture, and appearance is challenging.
Thankfully, ‘mending the gap’ is the latest truth, monopolizing plant protein and making it a significant constituent in the human diet in the upcoming years. Once we overcome all challenges, plant proteins will have a better acceptance rate and performance in the markets worldwide. Also, we would be successfully addressing the hunger issues across the globe and feeding all mouths efficiently.
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