Recent talk of plant-based protein has focused on such sources as beans, peas and ancient grains. Formulators may wish to remember another source that has a history in food and beverage applications, and it comes with a health claim from the Food and Drug Administration.
“Over the last few years, the market for soy protein has shifted,” said Tom Burrows, director of strategic marketing for ADM soy proteins in Decatur, Ill. “Ten years ago, soy was primarily viewed as an extender in meat products. Now, consumers are aware of the benefits of soy as a high-quality, nutritional food choice.”
Archer Daniels Midland Co. recently has promoted using soy in beverages through its Clarisoy isolated soy proteins. They come in a range of products for both low and neutral pH applications. Up to 10 grams of Clarisoy may be added per serving.
A blend of soy protein and pea protein is used in Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips to achieve 18 grams of protein per 3-oz serving.
“Our goal is to provide consumers with clean, plant-based proteins that perfectly replicate the taste, texture and nutritional benefits of meat,” said Ethan Brown, founder and chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat, when a national roll-out was announced in April.
Mr. Brown worked with Fu-hung Hsieh, a biological engineering and food science professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, to create Beyond Meat. Whole Foods Market has sold Beyond Meat. The CNN Money web site page featured Beyond Meat in an on-line story titled “Fake meat is on the menu this Thanksgiving.”
DuPont Nutrition & Health showed how soy protein may work in different types of bar applications during SupplySide West in Las Vegas last month.
A multilayer cookies and cream bar for sports nutrition featured 26 grams of protein for post-exercise recovery. Soy ingredients included Supro nuggets and Supro isolated soy protein. Through the use of Supro nuggets, a peanut butter and jelly snack bar for children’s nutrition featured 7 grams of protein. Supro nuggets and Supro isolated soy protein were in a lemon bar for healthy living that had 15 grams of protein.
A recent addition to the market, Nature Valley Protein bars use soy protein isolate to achieve 10 grams of protein per 50-gram serving. They come in two varieties: oats and dark chocolate, and oats and honey.
Soy qualified for an F.D.A. health claim in 1999. According to the F.D.A., 25 grams of soy protein a day, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
In a survey sponsored by the United Soybean Board, St. Louis, 75% of respondents rated soy products as healthy on an aided basis, which means they chose from a list of options. Conducted this past February, the 20th annual Consumer Attitudes About Nutrition; Insights into Nutrition, Health and Soyfoods involved 1,000 random surveys.
On an unaided basis, consumers most frequently mention the following specific health benefits of soy: good for you (18%), source of protein (16%), low in fat (14%), heart healthy (12%), good for women (11%) and lowers cholesterol (10%). Forty-two per cent of Americans consume soy foods or soy beverages once a month or more, which compares to 30% in 2006, according to the survey.