Evolving consumer preferences place plant-based proteins in high demand
Formulating with more plant proteins is a tremendous opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers to appeal to more consumers and drive brand growth. In fact, consumers worldwide say they are seeking — and buying — more products with increased protein content, and they're prepared to spend more for them as well.1
- 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for food and beverage products with ‘high protein’ claims1
- 68% are willing to pay more for food and beverage products with ‘made with plant-based ingredients’ claims1
Consumer food and beverage choices come down to a wide range of personal preferences, beliefs and motivations. Taste is at the top, of course, but consumers also make selections based on better nutrition and health benefits, sustainability and environmental impact, personal and cultural principles and many other variables.
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What does it take to create plant-based products that deliver both performance and appeal?
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The consumer desire for alternatives to traditional animal-based proteins is showing steady upward momentum. In fact, as of 2022, projected growth for plant-based proteins is at 7% CAGR with an estimated market size of $12 billion.2 Ingredion’s portfolio of versatile, sustainably sourced plant-based proteins allows manufacturers to create delicious products that are rich in functional protein, do not require specific labeling in the allergen statement, unlike soy, and are suitable for any lifestyle.
Ingredion is the only producer in North America that offers a complete portfolio of pea protein isolates, pulse concentrates, flours (yellow pea, faba, chickpea, yellow lentil, red lentil) and pea starch. Having a variety of bases and advanced scientific expertise gives us the flexibility to solve for a variety of challenges across multiple application segments.
- Plant based, consumer friendly labeling — Non-GMO, gluten-free, and clean label
- Nutrition (protein, fiber, micronutrients) — enables plant protein content claims
- Sustainable — grown and manufactured in North America using solvent free manufacturing process
- Allergen-friendly — does not require allergen labeling
- Available supply for high-volume application
- Cost competitive
Through our innovative technology, proprietary manufacturing processes, exclusive data insights and a dedicated team of food and sensory scientists, we help food and beverage companies bring exciting plant-based protein products to market faster.
Formulating for success with plant-based protein
Our team consists of proven plant-based protein experts who work to develop more complete protein nutrition using the comprehensive protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) methodology, which measures for protein quality. Understanding PDCAAS and how to measure it is vitally important for manufacturers as they create their protein products, especially when a protein level claim is intended for the front of package.
Ingredion is committed to the world of plant protein, and we're continually investing toward helping you navigate it to get the most out of this essential ingredient.
Overcoming formulation barriers with plant-based protein solutions
Research shows that consumers seek protein because they find the eating and drinking experience enjoyable, it is linked to better health and nutrition and it provides greater satiety and consistent energy.3 However, consumer concerns over taste, texture are holding back adoption and exponential growth in the plant-based protein space.
Consumers want all the benefits they expect from their preferred food and beverage choices in addition to great taste and appealing mouthfeel. The examples below demonstrate how partnering with Ingredion can help you overcome common plant protein application challenges — including taste and texture — and formulate to evolving consumer demands.
Formulating a tastier, ready-to-mix plant-based protein beverage
Application: Create a high-protein, sweet-tasting ready-to-mix drink mix with smooth mouthfeel
Challenge: Taste and off notes, protein fortification, high viscosity, sedimentation, instability and unappealing mouthfeel
Solution: VITESSENCE® 1853 and 1803C pea protein isolates boost protein while providing clean flavor, low viscosity and enhanced fiber content, resulting in an instant drink mix with 25 grams of protein and a smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
51% of individuals seeking protein think that it is appropriate to fortify nutritional beverages with protein.
Ingredion proprietary All About Protein Quantitative Report (U.S.), March 2023
Formulating a baked plant-based protein bar with the right texture
Application: Create a higher-protein, gluten-free baked breakfast and snack bar with a delicious flavor profile, desirable texture and shelf-life stability
Challenge: Taste and off notes, unappealing texture, potential allergens, sugar content
Solution: Support higher levels of protein with clean-tasting VITESSENCE 1853, VITESSENCE 1803, VITESSENCE 1803C pea protein isolates and VITESSENCE PRISTA P protein concentrates; use HOMECRAFT Prista P flour as a wheat flour alternative; reduce sugar with our line of alternative sweeteners; and enhance fiber content.
Consumers are seeking better-for-you snacks they can feel good about eating. 48% of protein seekers feel that it is appropriate to fortify ready-to-eat snack bars.
Ingredion proprietary All About Protein Quantitative Report (U.S.), March 2023
Formulating a coconut-chai frozen dessert with protein fortification
Application: Create a creamy, clean-tasting frozen dessert without the use of dairy
Challenge: Taste and off notes, instability, protein fortification, complex label declarations
Solution: VITESSENCE® Pulse 1853 pea protein isolate increases protein content while complementing our Dairyblend Natural IC 21 stabilizer system to deliver excellent emulsification, stability and texture. The result is a formulation with appealing taste and mouthfeel, improved shelf life and simpler label declarations.
Pea protein is used in 67% of the plant-based ice cream in the U.S., and it accounts for 54% of the U.S. launches that contain plant-based protein in the dairy alternative space.
Innova Market Insights 2022
Excellence in plant-protein sustainability
Explore pulse proteins' water-saving potential
See what it takes to add sustainable appeal to your products while conserving water for your brand.
Our calculator shows potential water savings when switching from beef, pork, chicken or soy ingredients to sustainable pulse proteins.
Balance consumer demand with business goals
Discover the link between consumer preferences and sustainability, explore the environmental benefits of using plant-based proteins and learn more about our sustainable and versatile ingredient solutions just for formulators.
Ultra-performance line delivers on quality and environmental impact
Applying a proprietary dry milling process that reduces waste and requires far less water than a typical wet milling process, Ingredion's Ultra-performance line has earned recognition as the Best Plant-Based Sustainability winner during the World Plant-Based Awards at the 2022 Plant Based World Expo.
Greater transparency with HowGood partnership
Ingredion’s partnership with HowGood, the New York-based sustainable food rating company, brings greater transparency to the sustainability of our leading products. It provides the critical data needed to help our customers make the best ingredient choices and enable the achievement of their sustainability goals.
Ingredion's tools for success
We have all the tools to help formulators ensure tasty, better-for-you product success from bench to shelf.
Plant-based protein case studies
See examples of how our collaborative partnership can propel your success in plant-based proteins.
Plant-based pancake mix without eggs
Customer challenge: Replacing dried whole eggs in pancake mix to compensate for the fluctuating cost of eggs.
Ingredient solution: Ultra-performance P360 replaced the dried whole eggs in the formula at a 1:1 ratio.
Result: Lower cost, stable supply and cost, removal of an allergen.
Pea milk packed with 8g of protein
Challenge: Create a plant-based, low-sugar alternative milk that delivers on the consumer-preferred drinking experience.
Ingredient solution: Deliver high-protein content with our VITESSENCE® 1853 and VITESSENCE® 1803C pea protein isolates to achieve “good source of protein” label claim.
Result: A clean-tasting, smooth and delicious peak milk with low viscosity and high stability.
Better-for-you batters and breadings
Challenge: Serve up better-for-you breaded products that consumers will crave and develop a more healthful breading that is gluten free, low in carbs and high in plant protein.
Ingredient solution: Delicious made better with VITESSENCE TEX Granules 103 structured vegetable protein. Craft a unique, panko-like texture free of major allergens and lower in total carbs.
Result: Real, crispy, crunchy, panko-style coating without major allergens, boosted protein and reduced carbs.
Our portfolio enables protein fortification for any application
Plant protein isolates — 80 to 85% protein*
Boost consumer appeal with our highest levels of protein. VITESSENCE® pea protein isolates offer our highest levels of protein to enable “excellent source of protein” claims.
Ultra-performance proteins — for even better taste and functionality
If you've been waiting for better taste and functionality in plant protein ingredients, it’s here. Our proprietary physical process results in clean taste, low micro levels and full functionality.
Plant protein concentrates — 55 to 60% protein*
Deliver in-demand plant protein plus fiber and micronutrients from lentil, pea and faba bean. VITESSENCE® Pulse plant-based protein concentrates deliver balanced nutrition with fiber and micronutrients along with in-demand protein.
Pulse flours — 10 to 20% protein*
Bake in a natural advantage with clean label, gluten-free solutions from lentil, pea, chickpea and faba bean. HOMECRAFT® Pulse flours are the clean label, gluten-free replacements for other flours and starches.
Structured vegetable proteins - 65% protein*
Provides texture, chewiness and firmness to help mimic meat in a variety of products.
Made from the same dried peas used for our protein ingredients, our pea starches can help enhance food such as shredded cheese products, snacks, gluten-free baked goods and confectionery.
Plant-based ingredient categories
Take a closer look at the versatility of plant-based proteins in a variety of applications.
Snacking & nutritional bars
Push past the expected with plant-based protein ingredient solutions for snack products.
Formulate ready-to-drink (RTD) or ready-to-mix (RTM) plant-based protein beverages with the expert help of our SOLUTION GURUS™ and our in-demand ingredient portfolio.
Batters & breadings
Bring your vision to life with plant-protein ingredient solutions for batters and breadings.
Create consumer-preferred, plant-based protein baked goods full of just-right nutrition and texture.
Deliver the nutritious plant-based proteins consumers want with the standout tastes and textures they demand.
Break through with the most appealing plant-protein yogurt, milk or cheese.
End-to-end development capabilities
Eighty-two percent of global consumers are open to the idea of incorporating pea protein into their food and beverages. Further, 36% of respondents in our 2023 proprietary ATLAS study rated pea protein as “highly acceptable.” Not only does Ingredion have the ingredient solutions for some of the most sought-after plant-based products, but we also have the people and science behind those ingredients to enable deep collaboration and help you develop successful and exciting food and beverages.
Stand out in the crowded market with our complete range of plant protein flours, concentrates and isolates from pulses as we provide development capabilities along the way. You’ll be quicker to market with products consumers will love.
Meet our experts enabling your plant-based protein application success
Our consumer insights team can help you make more informed decisions related to your specific category and region.
Here are examples of some of our latest consumer insights for plant-based protein.
Formulating made simple: On-trend plant-based yogurt
Here's an example video of how our technical service team can help with your plant-based protein applications.
Ingredion global sensory embraces a multi-prong scientific approach
We use trained tasters, conusmers, advanced statistics, oral processing and chemosensory to understand how sensory characterization shapes customer selction of Ingredion as "The preferred solution supplier."
Fast track customer co-creation consultancy model
Our concept innovation approach utilizes input and market strategies to develop breakthrough innovative concept formulations ready for focus groups, manufacturing and continued R&D.
Together, let’s create formulations that help your business grow
At Ingredion, our extensive ingredient knowledge, process expertise and flexibility can enable you to rapidly produce on-trend, in-demand plant-based protein products for today’s consumers.
In the news – what's happening in plant-based proteins
As meat-reduction trend levels off, industry backs plant-based innovation to propel category
Plant-based specialists present natural colors for browning, multifunctional texturizers and seafood analogs
Frequently asked questions about plant-based protein
What are plant-based proteins?
Plant-based protein is a food source of protein derived from plants. Pulses are among the leading plant-protein sources. They provide high levels of stable protein (up to 85% in some products). Not a top major allergen like other options such as soy and wheat. Pulses are nutritious, cost competitive and sustainable.
What types of plant-based proteins does Ingredion offer?
Ingredion is the only producer in North America that offers a complete portfolio of pea protein isolates, pulse concentrates, flours (yellow pea, faba, chickpea, and yellow/red lentil) and pea starch.
What is your Ultra-performance product line?
Our Ultra-performance pulse concentrates and flours enable you to create plant-based food and beverages without the raw plant flavor, bitter taste or uncontrolled microbial levels inherent in dry-milled pulse products. Ultra-performance pulses are rich in protein, fiber and many micronutrients. Our proprietary physical process yields a clean flavor profile while also keeping the macro and micronutrient content that is important for label claims.
Why is consumer demand for plant-based proteins on the rise?
Consumers are driven by concerns about their health and wellness and mindful consumptions. There is a growing movement away from animal meat products and traditional plant-based products (soy and wheat) and towards non-GMO, plant-based alternatives free of top allergens. A recent study of U.S. respondents showed that 70% of consumers are actively seeking protein in their diet.4
Explore your opportunity in plant-based proteins
Partner with Ingredion experts for solutions to your toughest formulation and innovation challenges. We can help you create more consumer value and gain share in the plant-based protein market.
1ATLAS, Ingredion Proprietary Consumer Research, 2023
3Innova Market Insights 2022
4Ingredion proprietary All About Protein Quantitative Report (U.S.), March 2023