Rice protein concentrate has advantages for food makers

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

UK-based AMC Chemicals says a new rice protein concentrate can
offer food makers a non-allergenic alternative to soy and whey that
is better absorbed by the body than other vegetable-derived
proteins.

The ingredient, produced in China for US firm Axiom Foods, is also likely to be cheaper than many of the proteins on the market.

"The price range on this product is much less than soy and whey,"​ said David Janow, president of Axiom Foods.

Not yet on the market, the ingredient could be priced at around $3-$3.50 per kg for large quantities.

This compares to around €6.50 per kg for caseinates, the dairy proteins typically used in dietetic foods like infant formula, sports products and slimming foods, while soy protein isolates cost from €3.50 to €5kg for the same amount of protein.

These prices are creating strong demand for alternative protein sources. Overall, food makers are using greater quantities of protein as the nutrient is shown to offer health benefits, and consumers question the role of carbohydrates. This increase in demand, in conjunction with an increase in demand from the animal feed industry, is putting pressure on traditional protein sources like soy and whey, raising prices.

Furthermore, under new allergens labeling, most of the commonly used proteins must carry a label warning that their presence may pose a risk to those with allergies.

A number of European companies have responded by offering pea protein but Janow claims that the protein levels in this vegetable are not quite as high as Oryzatein and pea protein is not hypo-allergenic in all cases.

"Oryzatein has a higher NPU (net protein utilization) and BV (biological value) than any other vegetable protein source which means that this is absorbed by the human body better than a pea protein or wheat protein for example,"​ he said.

After four hours, the body will have digested 86.1 per cent of the rice protein, compared with only 57 per cent of soy, according to the firm.

First launched at Supply Side West, the product was on display at FiE in Paris last week.

While brown rice flour is already available, as well as rice starch, rice protein is not yet well-established as a food ingredient, particularly in highly concentrated form.

Derived from wholegrain brown rice, the new Oryzatein ingredient can reach a purity of 90 per cent protein.

It is said to be the only wholegrain rice protein on the market, with the entire brown rice kernel being used in the processing. The process uses natural enzymes that digest the carbohydrate portion and leave the protein, with no traces of additives or chemicals.

Oryzatein contains nine essential amino acids, plus other non-essential amino acids, giving it a 98 per cent correlation to mother's milk, according to Axiom. This makes it suitable for infant formula.

"It is also gluten-free, sulphite and sulphate-free,"​ added Janow.

The firm is currently working on obtaining an organic certificate and a IP certificate for non-GMO.

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