Pace picks up for pea protein power

by Jeff Gelski
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I.F.F. plans to offer more assistance in creating desirable flavors for products featuring pea protein.

I.F.F. to stress flavors for protein sources

Protein from different sources, from legumes to seaweed to even insects, are appearing in foods and beverages. Executives at International Flavors & Fragrances have noticed, and now the company plans to offer more assistance in creating desirable flavors for such products.

“When we talk about protein and textures, we are not necessarily talking that we are adding proteins and textures to our portfolio,” said Matthias Haeni, group president of flavors for I.F.F., in a June 2 investors’ day call. “We are talking about flavoring product solutions, which are containing proteins, a different form of proteins than currently consumed.

“Most of these proteins, they are coming with certain off-tastes, and it is about masking these proteins. It is about better understanding and creating flavors, which are interacting with food proteins in a different way so that we can make these products taste better.”

While people across the globe are consuming more protein, there is pressure, including environmental pressure, on how proteins are consumed and resourced, he said.

“There are a lot of alternative sources the industry is working on, such as seaweed, widely consumed in Japan and in China,” Mr. Haeni said. “We talk about proteins that are plant-based or even proteins that are insect-based.”

He said I.F.F.’s flavors group will address three themes: modulation, delivery system, and protein and textures. Modulation refers to such issues as improving the taste of products with fewer calories or less sodium. Delivery system refers to finding more natural and sustainable sources of flavors, such as botanical extracts.

Andreas Fibig, chairman and chief executive officer of New York-based I.F.F., said finding the right people to join I.F.F. and focus on the themes will take time.

“If you look at protein and textures, for example, you have to hire these experts, and that really, really takes time,” he said. “So that at the moment is probably the time-limiting factor we have here, and that’s probably true for many of the areas where we want to go.”

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