In the coming weeks, our R&D department will guide you through three topics that are inextricably linked to meat substitutes, but about which little is known: proteins, vitamin B12 and meat substitutes iron. This time Ralf (Sr. product developer at Schouten) tells you more about proteins.
Schouten is operating in one of the fastest growing markets in the world; Plant-based protein foods. Food consists of several macronutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each of these components has their own function in the human body. Proteins are the main building blocks of all our tissues and are therefore a very important part of our diet. An adult needs around 50-60 grams of protein per day. Good sources are meat, fish and egg, but also soy, grains (wheat for example), nuts and pulses like beans and lentils.
Proteins from both sources (animal and plant) are built up in essentially the same way. There are 22 amino acids, which can connect to each other. Small amino acid chains are called peptides and bigger chains are proteins. Of all 22 amino acids, 13 can be synthesized by the human body. The other 9, essential amino acids, have to be present in the diet. The quality of a protein can be described with a value between 0 and 1. Chicken egg white is considered the highest quality with a value of 1. This value is derived from the amount and proportion of essential amino acids present in the protein.
Soy and wheat proteins
On average, an adult needs around 60 grams of protein per day. For vegetarians and vegans the advice is to consume 25% more protein. This is due to the lower protein quality of most plant based proteins. Soy is the most complete plant based protein with a score of 0.91, whilst pea and wheat score even lower with 0.89 and 0.42. Pea and wheat are, however, complementary proteins. Pea lacks the amino acids methionine and tryptophan, while wheat lacks isoleucine and lysine. Together they complement each other to a complete protein.
Therefore, a lot of our products are based on soy, which is the most complete plant based protein. In other products we try to create a complete amino acid profile by combining for example wheat and pea, or other grains and pulses. Our products are always good sources of protein and contain more protein than most other meat replacers.
We love partnering with any company looking for vegetarian products or concepts. Any questions or suggestions? Then contact us.