Pea protein is a plant-based protein food additive extracted from yellow peas that can be used as an alternate to other protein sources like dairy products including cheese, yoghurt, and milk, soy and animal-based proteins. A comparatively newer entrant to the plant-protein world, pea proteins are fast gaining appeal due to their numerous advantages. They possess an amino acid profile that is rich in lysine, arginine and branched chain amino acids. They are non-allergenic and non-genetically modified. They are preferred by vegans and consumers suffering from gluten allergies and celiac diseases. They are a versatile product and are more environmentally sustainable than meat proteins.
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A key challenge while formulating with pea protein is its viscosity and taste issues. Some pea protein products bear a strong salty or bean taste. They often carry a shrimp-like smell. The widespread dominance of soy, milk, canola and wheat, and low mass-consumer awareness regarding newer protein alternatives is another inhibitor of growth for pea proteins market.
The pea proteins market is fragmented and characterized by strategic partnerships between manufacturers, distributors, and food & beverage businesses that enable the development of products with tailored properties.
Pea proteins products can be categorized based on their protein content, into isolates, concentrates and textured pea protein. Isolates are characterized by high solubility and amino acid content, and superior emulsification properties. This makes them a suitable alternative for meat products. They also contain more than 90% protein and are therefore ideal for use in sports nutrition. The high protein content also leads to less consumption of the raw material and thus, lowers costs. Textured pea proteins are high in fiber. Their texture is similar to that of meat. They are used in dietary supplements and beverages. Pea concentrates are up to 75% protein. They are mostly added to food, beverage and aqua feed.
Pea proteins find the greatest use as dietary supplements. In fact, more than 65% of total pea proteins sales in the world in 2014 were in the form of dietary supplements. Pea protein is an ideal nutritional supplement for sports enthusiasts like endurance athletes as it has a longer digestion window leading to a slower release of protein thereby increasing satiety. It also fuels muscle and bone growth. Food & beverage businesses include pea proteins as fortifiers in products like energy drink-mix powders. Meat substitute is also an important application of pea proteins. Pea proteins are an ideal alternative to eggs as they can induce the same fluffiness in baked goods.
North America and Europe proved to be lucrative markets for pea proteins in 2014, attracting about 60% of the total volume. In the US, pea protein is a part of green mixes that include other ingredients like micro-algae and plant-based anti-oxidants. The Asia Pacific region is also witnessing growing demand for nutrient fortified functional food products and consequently, pea proteins.
Worldwide protein consumption is expected to increase from more than 200 billion tons in 2014 to close to 300 billion tons by 2022. Higher demand for protein owing to the growing health awareness will stimulate demand for pea proteins. The growing vegetarian population triggering the need for meat substitutes is a major factor for future growth of the global pea proteins market. Also, lactose intolerance, soy and gluten allergies will result in higher demand for pea proteins. Heavy investments in research and development for product innovation and in areas like extrusion technology will prove beneficial to market growth.
Of the various types of pea proteins, isolates are expected to witness the highest growth due to higher demand for protein powders and bakery products. The dietary supplements market is expected to grow robustly and will reach more than 60 billion by 2022, thereby augmenting the demand for pea proteins.
While growth will remain strong in North America and Europe, the Asia Pacific countries of China, India and South Korea will witness the fastest growth due to accelerated expansion of the food & beverage industry and favorable regulations. The key players of the global pea proteins market are Consucra-Groupe Warcoing, Burcon NutraScience Ltd., Nutri-Pea Ltd., Sotexpro, Shandong Jianyuan Foods Co. Ltd., and Roquette Freres.
Information Source: Grand View Research