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Alt-protein: Movement answers the call for more protein choice

By Will Chu , 08-Dec-2016
Last updated on 08-Dec-2016 at 15:06 GMT2016-12-08T15:06:01Z

Plant-based proteins and meatless meats are gaining ground and favour with consumers looking to switch for health and environmental reasons. ©iStock/olgaman

Plant-based proteins and meatless meats are gaining ground and favour with consumers looking to switch for health and environmental reasons. ©iStock/olgaman

With worldwide demand for protein set to reach new heights, what protein alternatives are robust and innovative enough to satisfy consumer appetite?  

The large protein contingent at FoodMattersLive was a strong indication that introducing novel and more sustainable sources to the sector offered immense opportunities for suppliers and food makers.

Despite EU hesitancy insect protein continues to make headway in the European market buoyed on by good quality products that look to overcome the so-called ‘yuck factor’ sooner rather than later.

“It’s surprising how quickly the perception is changing as the food industry more normalises the use of crickets in their food," the company’s founder, Tony Askins, said.

“Here at FoodMattersLive there are twelve companies showcasing their insect-derived products. Last year there were only two.”

Hemp hype?

Meanwhile, plant-based protein such as hemp, continue to generate interest from those interested in following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

Hemp’s protein profile is a complete one, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids.

It also contains heart-healthy fats and its sweet, nutty flavour, although not liked by some, means it easily blends into snack bars, bites and other baked goods.

“We’re seeing more adaption of hemp both as a food source and fibre source,” said Preet Marwaha, vice president of Planet Hemp.   

“Hemp protein is an opportunity to help supplement the consumption of animal-based proteins. The goal is not to convert everybody. It’s to help them understand that there are alternative sources that can help reduce meat consumption that will make a difference to our health and the planet’s health.”

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