Keto-Friendly Protein Food Development Challenges Presentation

Originally Published: June 22, 2019
Last Updated: September 9, 2021

Formulating new keto-friendly protein food products presents challenges for delivering the flavor and nutrition profile expected by a discerning and expanding consumer market. Beyond the challenges of achieving the taste and texture to meet consumer appeal, complicated regulatory hurdles need to be addressed to properly label for protein content and claims. Insights into these issues were discussed on a practical basis for product developers and manufacturers. This presentation focused on a case study involving on the development of almond-based products for this target market. Additionally, the range of nutrition profiles which legitimately fit a keto-friendly profile were reviewed.

An excerpt from the summary of the presentation:

For their product platform, the developers wanted their product to be natural; high in fat and protein; low in carbohydrates yet high in fiber; locally sourced; and healthy. Almonds (grown local to the company in California) were chosen for the product’s base. The composition of almonds (i.e., 51% fat, 21% protein and 20% carbohydrates) approximates that of a ketogenic diet, and almonds are well liked by consumers.

The protein content of foods is estimated using nitrogen conversion factors (NCFs). An NCF measured in 1898 has been used to assess the protein content of almonds. This factor was based on a single storage protein found in almonds, but other proteins within the nut have higher levels of nitrogen. Following a new analysis, a higher NCF of 6.25 (20% more than the original value) was obtained, which should allow it to be labeled with a higher protein content, increasing the final product’s value.

David Plank, PhD, Managing Principal, WRSS Food & Nutrition Insights; and Senior Research Fellow, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota speaking on Development Challenges: Protein & Keto-Friendly Foods at the 2019 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar.

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