Formulators Identify On-Trend Protein Ingredients

Originally Published: April 14, 2015
Last Updated: March 3, 2021

[Chicago, USA, April 14, 2015] Proteins differ from each other in many ways including their taste, cost, physical properties and consumer attitudes toward them. When proteins are developed as functional ingredients for use in food, beverage and nutritional products, these attributes help determine whether they will have increased or decreased use by product developers. When food formulators identify on-trend protein ingredients, they’re better able to satisfy consumer demand for good quality, nutritious products. 

The great interest in protein-enhanced foods as well as advances in food technology have led to a number of new ingredients, such as algal and insect proteins, joining old favorites—from eggs and gelatin to soy and dairy. While some protein components have received much media attention, does that translate to greater use of the product in products?

To gain an insight into this question, in its 1st Annual “R&D Protein Trends Survey,” Global Food Forums, Inc. asked “Protein-knowledgeable Food Technologists”:* “Do you see the use of the following protein types (as a powdered ingredient within formulated products) as decreasing, increasing or remaining the same in the USA in the next two years?”

Those surveyed were then given a list of 17 ingredients and also provided space for “write-ins.” The survey was conducted at the 2014 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar.

Pea protein was identified by 89% of the 78 Protein-knowledgeable respondents as increasing in use in the next two years. “Pulses (not pea),” “chia,” hemp,” “rice” and “algal” proteins followed with 80, 74, 69, 67 and 58% of respondents, respectively, saying they would increase in use. On the other, 36 and 35% of survey respondents predicted an increase in use for proteins from “soy” and “insects.”

“Complex reasons exist for these results. They do not reflect either popularity of ingredients or use in the more distant future,” says Claudia O’Donnell, Co-owner of Global Food Forums, Inc.

“For example, soy proteins are already so popular in product formulations, it is difficult to have a great percent increase on this large base. In another case, while insect protein has been high profile in the press as of late, challenges ranging from consumer acceptance to a limited commercial supply are challenges to their growth,” O’Donnell relates.

“These results are unusually significant, due to the nature of those surveyed” continues O’Donnell. “The 78 survey respondents are not casual observers of industry trends but are unusually well informed about protein ingredients and their use.”*

  • “Protein-knowledgeable” is used to describe R&D and other formulators in the food and nutritional products industry who have dedicated significant amounts of time and money to learning about protein ingredients and their use in food, beverage and nutritional products as attested by their attendance at the 2014 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminars’ Technical Program: Formulating with Proteins.”

About Global Food Forums, Inc.

The 2015 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar is a Global Food Forums, Inc. event. Other events include the Clean Label Conference and Formulating for Value Conference. Global Food Forums is the entrepreneurial concept conceived by two food industry veterans who are the firm’s co-owners: Peter N. Havens, senior publishing executive long-associated with the food industry; and Claudia D. O’Donnell, MSc, MBA, formerly technical editor with trade publications, as well as R&D/QC director of several food manufacturing companies. Together, they have more than 75 years of experience in food and beverage products, R&D, food media and conference management.