Food Blog

Chimichurri Chickpea Salad

Pea protein has become a fixture in the plant-based ‘meat alternative’ category, and for good reason.

According to the American Institute of Cancer Research, pea protein has a better – although not perfect – balance of essential amino acids than proteins derived from sources such as “hemp seed, rice and most other grains.” Further, protein derived from peas is a choice for people who are “lactose-intolerant or do not include dairy-based protein” in their diet, AICR says.

Consumers generally believe pea protein is beneficial. Mintel (December 2020) found that consumers rated meat substitutes made with pea protein as perceived healthy (59%), natural (52%) and unique (52%), slightly higher than meat substitutes made from wheat protein at 56%, 48% and 48%, respectively. Further, they rated pea protein as environmentally friendly (45% vs. 40% for wheat)

Meat substitutes made with wheat protein ranked higher in terms of convenience (64% vs. 61% for pea protein) and 55% vs. 51% for the attribute ‘filling.’

Buyers of meat substitutes made with pea, ranked by purchase intent, identified themselves as ‘organic buyer’ 43.2%; ‘eco-conscious’ 40.7% and ‘unique product buyer’, 38.1%.

Perhaps most important, the Mintel research found that 37% of U.S. consumers would be interested in trying pea protein, although only 18% indicated they currently eat it on a regular basis.

This group may include the ‘flexitarian’ consumer segment: People consuming more plant-based foods while continuing to include meat in their diet. They may enjoy experimenting beyond traditional plant-based burgers with recent pea protein offerings such as orange crispy chicken and chicken tenders and slices.

Regardless which diet consumers follow, taste and a satisfying mouthfeel drive their choices. Food formulators look to ProTerra ®textured pea protein to achieve these attributes as they develop meat extensions or substitutions.  They find ProTerra pea protein versatile and easy to use. Add to that nutritional value, neutral flavor profile and the fact it’s considered allergen-free, and it’s no wonder that pea appeals to a significant number of consumers.

Learn more about ProTerra textured protein here.

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