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Plant baked protein: A bright future for hemp seed

www.fooddive.com September 15, 2021
Plant baked protein: A bright future for hemp seed

Protein has a substantial role in baking. Beyond the Nutrition Facts, protein plays a big part in conditioning dough by providing structure, retaining moisture, adding texture, and so on. But as plant-based ingredients take the place of traditional animal proteins, the formulation expectations also change. For formulators that solve these challenges, the market opportunity is undeniable, as grocery sales of plant-based foods that directly replace animal products grew to over $7 billion in the past year (SPINS retail sales data, April 6, 2021). The astonishing 27% growth is a testament to the innovation and R&D in this space. Yet new ingredients must emerge in this growing category for plant proteins to sustain this trend in supporting more diverse product applications. And of the emerging ingredients, hemp heart protein may be the most exciting of them all.

Understanding the recipe for success

Let's appreciate the chemistry of baking for a moment. Proteins perform along with starches, fats, sugars, and leavening agents in a delicate balance that can make baking a success... or not. Plant protein will undoubtedly influence the end product's texture, taste, and appearance differently from animal proteins such as casein, whey, and eggs. So whether a baked good is a bar, pancake, extruded snack, or tortilla, it is important to recognize that plant-based ingredients have some notable hurdles to overcome.

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