On the occasion of the launch of a « new generation » NUTRALYS®, B. Géhin, details the progress recently accomplished by Roquette in the pea protein field.
Mr. Bruno GEHIN, you are in charge of the development of NUTRALYS® pea protein throughout the world. What is the state of progress of this project for Roquette?
The NUTRALYS® pea protein constitutes a high-performance range with very diverse applications.
2010 will be a key year for Roquette: several watersheds will be crossed:
- From the activity standpoint: The pea sector built up today enables Roquette to be the world number one in pea starch manufacture.
- From the technological standpoint: The NUTRALYS® pea protein range will benefit this year from the setting in place of industrial practices that will ensure significant progress, in particular at the level of the mastery of the organoleptic properties.
This last change will enable us to present innovative concepts to our customers thanks to higher pea protein inclusion rates.
Why is the sensory profile of proteins such an important factor?
Are proteins not consumed in the first place for performance reasons?
In reality, whether we are talking about proteins or another ingredient, every cook or food processing industrialist seeks in the first place to satisfy the taste buds of the consumers. Consequently sensory perception of the ingredient is as important as its nutritional intake.
In Western countries, succulence and conviviality of dishes are associated with meat or fish. They are sources of protein that constitute the « heart of the plate ». Animal protein is associated with gustatory pleasure, which is not the case with protein of vegetable origin.
In point of fact the sensory qualities of protein of vegetable origin have always been a major brake on its use. Endowed with a balanced nutritional profile, NUTRALYS® pea protein had a taste and an odour specific to the vegetable world. The improving of the taste of our protein range was consequently made a strategic area for R&D. After several months of research and the setting in place of a dedicated technology, the “new generation” NUTRALYS® was able to be launched in the spring of 2010.
So if the taste has been improved, there should be greater use made of NUTRALYS®: But could you give a few more details about the changes implemented?
The main work consisted in identifying the origin of the undesirable tastes that were responsible for the « green » or « vegetable » note. Once the molecules responsible had been identified, we set in place specific actions to prevent the presence of these molecules and their formation, from the raw material to the isolated protein.
Thanks to these improvements in our manufacturing process, the new taste of NUTRALYS® pea protein enables high inclusion rates to be attained for formulation. Our customers are now in a position to develop formulas that are richer in vegetable protein, while at the same time keeping the purchase cost at an affordable level for the consumer.
The second benefit is to enable the inclusion of pea protein where animal protein seemed to be inescapable, for example in cheese or dairy specialties and even in some forms of confectionery.
- And the next step?
We are continuing with this improvement and adjustment strategy in order to be in line with the expectations of the food producers. We sometimes work in collaboration with flavourists. The NUTRALYS® range should be extended in the future.
Roquette is investing energetically in Nutrition Health and proteins naturally find their place in these innovation programmes.
At the same time, the sensory aspects of proteins will always be a key success factor for fully satisfying our customers and above all the consumer.