MGP Ingredients expands textured protein line with pea option

Dive Brief:

  • MGP Ingredients is expanding its textured protein offerings with a new gluten-free option made from peas. It complements the textured wheat series it already has on the market. The products will be marketed as part of MGP Ingredients’ ProTerra line.
  • The maker of plant-based proteins and starches said ProTerra is suited for use in vegetarian and vegan applications, as well as in blended products as an extension or partial substitute for meat.
  • “ProTerra proteins not only mimic the appearance and fibrous texture of meat, but their enhanced texture and mouthfeel are important attributes in products developed for consumers who desire the sensory attributes of meat in a plant-based option,” Ody Maningat, chief science officer and vice president of research and development at MGP Ingredients, said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

As plant-based meat companies look to attract more carnivorous consumers to their products, it becomes even more important to mimic the taste and texture attributes as the real thing. The ProTerra line hits on a lot of these points that could make it a more attractive option for plant-based food companies. MGP Ingredients takes it one step further with gluten-free peas, giving the ingredient another characteristic valued by food manufacturers.

The race is on among companies to develop ingredients that make plant-based meats even more realistic. Plant-based proteins, including peas, have been targeted by Ingredion as one of its five platforms for growth. Ingredion in January introduced a high-protein pea ingredient for dairy and meat alternatives, nutrition and sports bars, powdered and ready-to-drink beverages, and snacks and baked goods. Cargill put $75 million into Puris, a Minnesota-based producer of pea protein in 2019, following an investment of $25 million from Cargill to the company a year earlier. 

It’s no wonder ingredient makers are introducing new and better varieties. In just the last year, several high-profile products incorporating pea proteins have been introduced, including Nestlé​’s plant-based Awesome Burger and Awesome Grounds under its Sweet Earth banner, and Tyson Foods‘ Raised & Rooted brand, which uses pea protein and other ingredients to make plant-based chicken nuggets. Food giant Danone incorporated pea proteins into offerings under its Silk beverage line and Hershey’s Krave announced earlier this year it was using peas as one of the ingredients in its plant-based jerky offering.

When food manufacturers decide which ingredient to use, they evaluate several varieties to see how well they function in areas like solubility as well as taste, nutrients, sustainability and whether they can get a reliable supply. In addition to these traits, MGP Ingredients said ProTerra has important nutritional benefits. It has a minimum of 75% protein and significant functional benefits, such as good hydration capacity.

In its statement, MGP Ingredients touted the pea and wheat proteins as “giving food formulators a range of choices ideal for almost any application.” Increasingly, that is key for food manufacturers who seek to incorporate different characteristics into a product depending on what they are trying to accomplish. By coming up with portfolios that are deeper and offer more choices, ingredient companies increase the likelihood of CPGs choosing to work with them, especially if it reduces their need to shop around to multiple suppliers.

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