Interest in alternative protein increases over the past decades. There are several factors that contributed to the rise of this trend. Number one is increased consumer interest on increasing personal healthcare quality. Since COVID pandemic, there is a raise of awareness of increasing the quality of healthcare especially personal healthcare. Number two is regarding on animal meat impact on the environment. How severe it is regarding to the greenhouse gases, water, and land usage. Last one is on the need of new source of food due to the rise of human population and land for farming is scarce. Regarding the types of alternative protein, let us check it out together!
Soy protein commonly is sold as 65% percent protein or isolate that contains 85% of total protein. Regarding its digestibility in our body, it can be digested easily, and the nutrient can be quickly absorbed by our body. It has clean taste and is a versatile ingredient to be reprocessed into other food. Besides that, the environmental impact generated from soy is among the lowest and have low price point. Making soy the highest value of alternative protein. Novelty wise, soy protein has been on the market for the past decades.
Same as soy protein, it is sold as a concentrate containing 65% protein or prepared through dry an isolate containing 85% protein. Pea protein has a slight beany taste which should be masked with either proper processing method or adding other flavor components. Compared to soy protein, pea protein has slightly lower digestibility of protein. It is a bit more expensive, however still produce low environmental impact and has been in the market for over 10 years. The benefit of pea protein compared to soy protein that unlike soy, it does not produce any allergen (nonallergenic), non-GMO thus making it very safe.
Insect Protein “Cricket”
Cricket is sold as a whole or milled flour that contain up to 25% protein. Because it is made from insect, the flour has distinct texture, appearance and aroma which needs to be covered. Creating a huge challenge for product formulation. The flour is potentially allergenic to some people so better watch out if you want to consume this type of protein. The digestibility is lower than both soy and pea protein. Produce low environmental impact but very costly. If you are up for a challenge and want to try something anti-mainstream, this can be a good selection for you.
Is a fungus that has filament or mold that is processed without protein extraction. Contains about 47% of protein, very high digestibility, and balanced amino acid score. To be able to mimic real meat, mycoprotein is mixed with egg and froze for a certain period. Mycoproteins are a new thing in this alternative protein, so not many consumers know about this. Regarding on environmental impact, mycoprotein produce medium environment damage. Mycoprotein is cheaper than insect but more expensive than soy and pea.
Cultured meat is made by tissue culturing animal cells in laboratory to mimic the structure of the animal. Currently cultured meat is still being developed in laboratory so there is no real product available. If there is one, the price is still very expensive and still produce high environmental impact. Cultured meats are aimed to be the food in the future starting from the next ten years.
So that is a bit of comparison of the main ingredient of alternative proteins. If you want to experience food created from one of the alternative proteins (soy), you can try Meatless Kingdom products. It is made with the combination of soy and mushroom. A perfect combination of alternative protein that is healthy, halal and high in nutrients.