Derived from European-sourced pea and rice proteins and offering over 80% protein, this new ultra-fine protein powder - set for launch on April 1st - is produced using a 'world-first' mechanical manufacturing process.
The fineness of the powder is claimed to create a smoother, less gritty texture as well as improved particle suspension, cleaner flavour profiles and 'superior emulsification capacity'.
Group technical director Paul Sheldrake says these new proteins should be of particular interest to the sports nutrition and high-protein beverages and snacks markets, where demand for plant-based proteins is growing fast.
“We are seeing a great gap in the market for these microfine proteins to help improve the quality and functionality of consumer products," says Sheldrake.
"This is already being shown in the volume of information requests, product trials and pre-launch sales of these proteins.”
Market research analyst Lumina Intelligence has analysed the customer reviews of sports nutrition products online and found that plant proteins currently on the market are under-performing.
Tom Morgan, market analyst for Lumina, explains that texture, taste, colour and smell (organoleptic properties) are all proving an issue for plant proteins.
“Plant proteins are becoming a big thing in sports nutrition, as consumers are looking for the nutritional edge in competition which doesn’t sacrifice their ethics, their health goals, or their taste buds. A mean feat in all, and currently products are under-performing," Morgan explains.
"From market data in online reviews for protein bars, plant proteins get high scores but less reviews on average, as gritty texture isn’t as much of issue for a bar.
"In protein powders, plant-proteins get less reviews and worse scores, as formulators are still struggling with the organoleptic quirks of pea, soy, and other et al in a drink."
Morgan adds that soy plant-based proteins tend to get better scores while products with stevia get lower scores.
"If a company can manage to overcome these, they are likely to really capitalise on consumers’ current hunger for vegan protein sources.”