Pea protein shows potential for gluten-free formulations


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Pea protein shows potential for gluten-free formulations

Related tags: Pea protein, Gluten-free diet

Adding pea protein to gluten-free bread may enrich the nutritional content of the product, with a sensory panel rating it ‘most acceptable’, says a new study.

On the other hand, other proteins like soy protein, adversely affected the acceptance of the gluten-free formulations, according to findings published in Food Hydrocolloids​.

Researchers from the University of Agriculture in Krakow, Poland reported that all the proteins tested were associated with an increase in the nutritional profile and shelf-life, but not all the formulations were acceptable to the consumer panel.

Pea protein ‘explosion’

The study supports the use of pea protein in gluten-free formulations, an area recently highlighted for its potential by Brent Lambert, VP-proteins & gums for Farbest Brands.

“Consumers are just starting to be introduced to this ingredient,” Lambert told us recently​. “We are seeing gluten-free products containing pea protein. This is a fringe ingredient starting to get into the mainstream.”

The study used Roquette’s Nutralys F85M pea protein isolate. Bruno Gehin, corporate product manager – proteins for Roquette, explained that the pea protein market is continuing to diversify, “andconsumer demand for novel high-protein formulations continues to grow. Ready-to-drink beverages, tablets and capsules, gels, snacks and nutrition bars - all with pea protein - are under development.

“All these products can be broadly placed in one or the other of two classes: using pea protein as an alternative and/or as a complement to other protein and non-protein ingredients.”


Gluten free is clearly an area of potential, and a sector enjoying considerable growth. According to data from SPINS, sales of gluten-free products were up 19% in the year to September 2012 in natural and conventional channels combined (excluding Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market), while Packaged Facts says compound annual growth rate for gluten free products in the US retail market 2008-2012 is approaching 28%.

Mintel data meanwhile, shows that the number of new product launches featuring gluten-free claims rose from 600 in 2007 to more than 1,600 in 2011, while Packaged Facts says the market is growing "even faster than anticipated", and is set to reach $6.5bn in 2017.

Study details

The Krakow-based scientists examined the ability of a range of ingredients, including albumin, collagen, pea, lupine and soy protein to replace 10% of the starch in a gluten-free formulation.

Results showed that the ingredients produced different results, with “bread with pea protein [being] the most acceptable among analyzed samples, while the least sensory acceptance was observed in the case of the product with soy protein”​.

“The results […] clearly show that the applied proteins not only caused an increase of nutritional value of gluten-free bread, but acted also as an effective anti-staling factor,” ​they wrote.

“Their use, however, requires individual optimization of blends because of the significant differences in the water binding capacity and emulsifying properties.

“Since the applied protein types also significantly affect rheological properties of dough and structure of the bread, the use of a structure-forming agents in the gluten-free bread starch-based, free of structure-forming hydrocolloids, including guar gum and pectin, requires additional testing.”

Source: Food Hydrocolloids
Volume 32, Issue 2, Pages 213–220, doi: 10.1016/j.foodhyd.2013.01.006
“Supplementation of gluten-free bread with non-gluten proteins. Effect on dough rheological properties and bread characteristic”
Authors: R. Ziobro, T. Witczak, L. Juszczak, J. Koru

Related topics: Ingredients

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