Speaking with FoodNavigator-USA at the recent IFT Annual Meeting and Expo, Burcon’s Johann Tergesen told us: “Protein happens to be one of those rare ingredients that people are looking for more of it. There’s a handful of ingredients out there, like fiber, protein, certain minerals, etc, and we’re loving that. We’re loving that the fact that this health and wellness trend is growing.”
The company rose to prominence with the development of its Clarisoy soy protein, which is now with ADM, and Burcon is now continuing to develop novel and innovative protein ingredients from other plant sources, including pea protein, flax protein, and canola protein.
“We’re focusing on the same thing: Developing up novel plant based proteins that have unique functional and nutritional characteristics,” explained Tergesen. “Ultimately what you want is perfect nutritional value and then something that is very functional – high solubility, little or no flavor, ease of use, etc. It’s a real challenge in the technologies to develop that.
“What we’re really excited about right now is pea protein. Pea protein is very hot. Peas are very sustainable – they don’t require nitrogen and fertilizer. There is a lot of demand for it and a lot of interest.”
A big part of the attraction of pea protein is that it is hypoallergenic, he said.
According to an article published on FoodNavigator-USA earlier this year, the US pea protein market could be ready to explode, but does Tergesen agree? “It seems that way,” he said. “I cannot tell you how many people have come to us asking about immediately supplying them with the pea protein product.”
Burcon’s Peazazz-branded pea protein ingredient is not yet ready for the market, however, with a semi-works production facility and commercial quantities expected to drive primary market demand this year.