Demand For Plant-Based Options Grows as Consumers Embrace Flexitarian Diets
BENEO, a leading manufacturer of functional ingredients, is highlighting its new faba bean protein concentrate and starch-rich flour during this year’s
IFT Food Expo at McCormick Place in Chicago from July 11-13. Themed “Rooted in Nature – the Power of Plants,” visitors to BENEO’s booth #S2410, will learn how faba bean ingredients are providing food manufacturers with innovative opportunities for texture improvement in meat and dairy alternatives as well as protein enrichment in a vast array of foods.
According to a recent consumer survey on behalf of BENEO[i], nearly half of US consumers are (very) interested in plant-based nutrition (42%)[ii]. Whereas 10% identify as vegans, vegetarians, or pescatarians, more than twice as many consumers polled (22%) identify as flexitarians. Consumers who follow this lifestyle intend to limit their meat and dairy consumption. Reacting to this trend, food manufacturers need ingredients that allow them to create appealing products utilizing sustainable plant-based options. Pulses such as faba bean, are rising star ingredients in this category with product launches posting a CAGR of 20% in the recent past (2016-2021)[iii] and expectations for further growth.
The versatility of faba bean ingredients benefits both manufacturers and consumers. Having a creamy mild taste, they are suitable for vegan, vegetarian, and flexitarian diets. As a vegetal protein, BENEO’s faba bean protein concentrate can replace animal protein (milk, egg) as well as soy protein in certain applications. It has an excellent amino acid profile and shows high solubility as well as very good emulsifying properties and, due to these technical characteristics, is also suitable for dairy alternatives and some savory applications. In addition, BENEO’s faba bean starch-rich flour, being naturally high in protein, can help boost the protein content in applications such as cereal bars, pasta, snacks, or baked goods.
“It’s clear that plant-based proteins are future-proof proteins that contribute to public health as well as the earth’s well-being,” said Jon Peters, BENEO’s Sales Director Americas. “In April, we announced a $54 million investment into a new pulse processing plant in Offstein, Germany. This investment underscores BENEO’s commitment to providing ingredients with innovative technological properties to enable food and drink manufacturers in the development of exciting plant-based options. In addition, faba bean ingredients contribute to BENEO’s sustainability goals along the entire supply chain.”
Faba beans fix nitrogen from the air for themselves and subsequent plants, which reduces fertilizer requirements and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at the farm level. BENEO strives to source faba beans at Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Gold level from German farmers. Manufacturing faba bean protein concentrate, starch-rich flour, and hulls for both food and animal feed, the crop will be fully used and completely valorized for functional ingredients. In order to make BENEO’s faba bean ingredients available to customers globally already now, they are currently being produced in an intermediate facility until the scheduled completion of the new plant within the second half of 2024.
Visitors to BENEO’s booth at IFT will be able to get the first taste of its new ingredient range, by indulging in a cookie dough-flavored plant-based protein bar with chocolate enrobing. It contains 16 grams of plant-based protein from faba bean and rice per serving and offers a clean flavor profile and soft texture. While the new faba bean portfolio will be a highlight at BENEO’s booth, visitors can also learn more about the company’s prebiotic chicory root fibers Orafti® Inulin and Oligofructose as well as its smart carbohydrate, Palatinose™ for sustained energy, and the tooth-friendly sugar replacer Isomalt. The booth is also featuring BENEO’s wide range of specialty rice ingredients.
[i] BENEO Global Plant-Based Survey 2021 – Insites Consulting conducted an online quantitative survey in July 2021 in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, UK, US, Brazil, Australia, China, and Russia: min. 1000 consumers/ country = 11,990 consumers in total
[ii] BENEO Global Plant-Based Survey 2021. Q: Please indicate how interested you are in plant-based nutrition on a scale of 1 to 10 – 42% of US consumers chose 7 or higher
[iii] Mintel GNPD, Global search for fava bean flour and proteins in the categories: snacks, bakery, breakfast cereals, dairy and meat substitutes, date of search: 22/12/2021