The future of human nutrition presents us with several challenges.
Safety, quality, availability and food distribution are key challenges.
We will address these four themes which concerns our main activity in the development and marketing of rich in plant protein products for human consumption.
In terms of safety it is important to ensure the traceability of the grain and seeds until harvest. This is the first step and among the risk factors are direct or indirect genetic modifications as well as contamination by pesticides or pollution. In the case of vegetable proteins that are going to be the result of an extraction process and subsequently an additional process of texturization, the existing methods must be taken into account and the pollutant or contaminant effects on the material and the environment adequately evaluated.
Consistent and constant quality must be ensured as harvests can vary and the final product will reflect these changes. As it is a dry state product that needs to be rehydrated there is in addition to the taste factor other factors such as texture, absorption and the effect of heat to be considered. This is important from a commercial point of view to be able to provide the consumer with a stable product that will encourage repeated purchase and consumption, especially when it comes to innovative products.
Food availability and distribution
Food availability meaning being able to satisfy the food supply in a consistent manner over time. This requires sufficient and optimal storage and supply management. The distribution meaning geographical logistics but also optimal distribution. It is also important to address food waste due to the influence of purely financial interests. This becomes important because climate change is negatively impacting agricultural productivity estimates and projections. Therefore the practice of destroying surplus production to maintain prices for a current year becomes irresponsible as the forecast of the next crop may be at risk. This is not the subject of this communication but it is useful to sensitize the agri-food sector of this phenomenon.
Vegetable proteins are an effective way to address several dietary challenges at once.
The reason is the multiple added values that it presents, not only at the nutritional and food level but also at the level of the cost of production, storage and transport in resources and time.
The density of vegetable proteins
Plant based protein products provide an essential nutrient but also provide the necessary protein density.This property has traditionally been reserved for animal source foods. Being able to ingest 20 or 30 grams of protein by eating a few bites of meat or cheese has been difficult so far with plant based foods. Nuts have such a density but are too rich in fat and do not lend themselves easily to culinary transformation so they are not practical as regular food options. But vegetable proteins thanks to their diversity in forms ranging from a fine powder to various textured shapes and having in addition a neutral color and a reasonably neutral taste offer very interesting possibilities. It is possible to combine them to create a variety of finished products ranging from meat-analogue products to desserts and drinks. It is these properties that will allow plant proteins to successfully substitute animal source products.
Sufficient knowledge of the effects of the consumption of cereals and legumes.
There is also another important benefit, and this is the fact that we have many centuries of hindsight on the effect of plant products on our organisms. This is very important because if we take the example of the mad cow disease we note that it is estimated that the cause is directly related to having fed cows with products of animal origin. Wheat protein is a form of bread and pasta and is a traditional food and its effects are well known. This is not true for algae or insect protein for example because we have little historic data on the effects of such a diet on a human organism.
Vegetable proteins a real solution for the future
There are many other elements that ensure that vegetable proteins and foods rich in vegetable proteins offer a real solution for the future of our species and our planet, but the few arguments detailed in this text are already sufficient indicators.