Health properties of pea protein

The health properties of pea proteinPea protein has no effect on oestrogen. It doesn’t contain phytoestrogens, which can increase or decrease hormone oestrogen in humans.

‘The product is taking the market by storm and will be the protein of the future,’ says George Tomazos, sales specialist at AGT Foods Africa. ‘As increasing demand continues to drive protein costs higher, pea protein is well priced and positioned to play an important role in food fortification. At less than one third of the price of whey powder, and comparable to soya protein, pea protein is a healthy alternative with great benefits and usability.

‘Given the current market conditions, manufacturers are under pressure to find alternatives to protein. In this space there has been an alarming increase in the number of unscrupulous sources of protein,’ Tomazos adds. ‘Pea protein is pure. It is produced through an entirely mechanical process, during which no chemicals or additives are introduced. It is a 100 per cent natural process, unlike soya protein, which is traditionally produced using a chemical process,’ Tomazos points out.

Although pea protein is not yet available in its raw form to consumers, it is being used by the food industry in energy and protein supplement, bars and fortified cereals. ‘Food and nutritional supplement manufacturers are starting to favour this product for its high protein content, comprising more than 50 per cent protein and less than 11 per cent starch. It increases protein content and enhances texture, viscosity and appearance without altering the flavour, aroma or colour of food,’ Tomazos explains.

‘We are investigating a gluten free range for this fast growing market which is seeing 30 per cent annual growth. The company sees pea protein as a potential additive to staple foods such as mealie meal and bread. It functions as an excellent alternative to eggs as you get the same performance at a lower cost.’

Pea protein has taken three years to develop at a cost of more than US$70 million. The product is allergen, gluten-and lactose free and low in calories. Distributed by AGT Foods Africa in South Africa, the company is a division of AGT Foods Canada – a trusted agricultural production, processing and trading organisation worldwide.