Could This Seed Produce the Most Sustainable Protein Source?
About 62 percent of Americans claim they actively try to maintain their protein consumption on a regular basis, but for those adopting a plant-based diet, finding protein-rich foods can be intimidating. However, research has shown that eating plant protein boost gut health and overall well-being when compared to meat or dairy proteins. And now, a company has succeeded in developing a high-quality, sustainable plant protein using canola seeds, slated to appear in a new selection of vegan meats.
For nearly a decade, DSM experimented with creating a protein isolate from canola seeds –– also known commonly as rapeseeds. The innovative protein isolate contains all nine essential amino acids without any major allergen. The Vertis CanolaPRO is designed as a functional ingredient that can be manipulated to replicate better the texture of plant-based seafood, meat, and dairy products.
“We are immensely proud to bring Vertis CanolaPRO to the market to help address the need for nutritious, delicious, and sustainable plant-based food and beverages,” Patrick Niels, executive vice president of Food & Beverage at DSM, said. “At DSM, we’re driven to partner with our customers in the food and beverage industry to produce great products that have benefits for both people and the planet."
Could Canola Protein Be the Most Sustainable?
The protein isolate is produced from canola meal –– the byproduct of canola oil production. By using the canola meal, the production of Vertis CanolaPRO will require no extra farmland and use minimal water in the cultivation process. DSM received help from the protein processor Avril Group beginning in 2020. This new protein isolate will help minimize waste, resulting in one of the most sustainable protein products on the market.
DSM announced that it plans to release a product selection that features the new sustainable protein isolate. The Vertis product selection will begin to include products using canola-based protein to accompany its current selection of pea- and faba-based products.
The company has also attempted to boost the nutritional profile of its products in recent years. DSM most recently started adding algae-based omega-3s to its plant-based meat products. DSM intends to reach 150 million consumers by 2030.
"With the launch of Vertis CanolaPRO alongside our legume-based offering, we are establishing a leading portfolio of healthy and sustainable plant proteins that even better positions us as a go-to innovation partner for the plant-based market," Niels continued.
Plant Protein is Healthier Than Meat and Dairy
Diets that rely on meat and dairy for protein intake are associated with several health risks including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease among others. Regularly eating processed and red meat for protein can lead to an 18 percent increase in heart disease, whereas a mostly plant-based diet can prolong your lifespan by over 10 years.
By cultivating “good” bacteria with high fiber food consumption (such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds), plant-centric diets can help lead to longer lives, according to the research. And for consumers looking to bulk with protein, research has shown that plant-based protein consumption supplements with soy can build the same muscle mass as animal-based foods while maintaining overall wellness.
New Innovative Vegan Meat Products
DSM's protein isolate joins a growing portfolio of innovative vegan meat attempting to reduce the average 274 pounds of meat that Americans eat annually. Slovenian food tech company Juicy Marbles just released a whole-cut tenderloin made with exclusively plant-based ingredients. This vegan meat accompanies the brand's plant-based fillet, both designed to persuade meat eaters to try plant-based alternatives.
Other companies such as Redefine Meat, Novameat, and even Beyond Meat have developed new methods of replicating conventional beef products. Both companies have developed 3D printing technologies that replicate the muscle texture of conventional meat with plant-based ingredients.
Food technology company Plantible Foods is also on a mission to create the world's most sustainable protein, but using lemna –– an aquatic plant known colloquially as duckweed. The brand's signature Rubi Protein is 50,000 times more protein efficient than beef and 400 times more protein efficient than peas due to its minimal land use and exponential growth capabilities.
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