Key technologies for plant protein production
Meeting the growing demand for plant-based protein requires the development of new technologies for production. CFAM Technologies is one company at the forefront of this movement, manufacturing world-class food processing equipment. Techniques such as extrusion and shear cell techniques have been widely studied, but improvements in overall appearance and flavour, biological and chemical safety control, as well as the selection of protein sources are also very important for plant protein production.
Consumer attitudes toward plant-based proteins
Consumer acceptance of plant-based proteins remains unsatisfactory but is continually improving. Taste is the driving factor when it comes to making decisions in the grocery aisle, followed by health-centric attributes. Consumers seeking plant-based options are more likely to look for non-GMO products that are high in protein and have no artificial ingredients. A generationally unifying concept of cost savings is also inspiring the rising trend of the vegan lifestyle. Cutting costs is the most common reason cited by lower-income earners for reducing their intake of animal protein.
Future research opportunities
Despite the growing popularity of plant-based proteins, there is still much research to be done in this field. Future research opportunities include developing more effective strategies for consumer education, providing more scientific evidence for the health properties of plant-based proteins, finding more suitable protein sources to improve the quality of the final products, improving the appearance and flavour, further examining and securing the chemical safety, exploring the structure formation mechanism during the extraction or shearing processes, and developing methods and standards for a quality evaluation of plant-based proteins.
The plant protein market is being driven by a variety of factors, including concerns about the environment, animal welfare, and personal health. CFAM Technologies is one company at the forefront of this movement, manufacturing world-class food processing equipment. While there are many reasons consumers are turning to plant-based proteins, the fact remains that it seems to be an unstoppable trend with much more growth potential. With continued research and development, the plant protein market is likely to continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.
For relevant conferences and workshops regarding food & feed extrusion, visit www.ExtruAfrica.org.za. The next available course is taking place in August 2023, in Kenya. This course will focus on the applications of extrusion for developing countries. There are also two Business Development Workshops taking place in September and November 2023 at CFAM Technologies’ facilities in Potchefstroom. These workshops will focus on the extrusion of plant protein products and animal feed.