Corn-based protein targets veggie health boom, says Penford R&D head

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Snack bars and other breakfast items are ideal for protein enrichment as consumers seek nutrition-rich items, says Penford's R&D head
Snack bars and other breakfast items are ideal for protein enrichment as consumers seek nutrition-rich items, says Penford's R&D head

Related tags Nutrition

Penford Ingredients has developed a corn-based protein to tap into a surge in health and wellness, vegetarianism and gluten-free, its R&D head says.

PenDure CW can be used for protein enrichment and texturizing in baked goods, tortillas, breakfast cereals, cereal bars and snacks.

Penford’s vice president of research and development Bryan Scherer said the launch was in response to demands from a health perspective.

“Health and wellness, the non-allergenic and vegetarian/vegan segments prompted the introduction of a new vegetable-based protein. Protein enrichment is popular amongst health and wellness consumers, especially weight managers,”​ he told

He said that the rise in vegetarian-based diets had fueled the demand for meat alternative products, driving the trend for vegetarian-based proteins.

Euromonitors’ health and wellness analysts Ewa Hudson and Diana Cowland recently flagged enhanced natural; protein​ as number two on their health mega trends for 2014, just behind natural energy and tiredness reduction.

“In addition, the gluten-free category seeks out nutritional enhancement such as fiber, protein and vitamins and minerals. So, providing a non-allergenic protein source was an ideal fit,” ​Scherer added. Jennifer Williams, senior application scientist at Penford, previously discussed the growing trend to add in ingredients to pack nutritional punch in gluten-free​.

Protein concentrate from corn

Penford has sourced white dent corn for its protein ingredient. The company has used a proprietary process to separate the corn into components such as protein, dietary fiber, germ and starch, Scherer explained. The company uses the other corn parts for fiber and germ ingredients.

“The protein separated from the corn is in the form of a concentrate, so it contains at least 50% protein,”​ he said.

He said that while the ingredient boasts 50% protein content, the concentration of protein in the final baked good, cereal or snack product would depend on the amount of corn protein used in a particular formulation.

High-protein boom

Several factors have driven the high-protein trend in the bakery, cereal and snack sector, the R&D head said.

“First, breakfast is the time of the day when consumers typically eat nutritionally. Breakfast items tend to be fiber-enriched, protein-enriched and contain vitamins and minerals. Breakfast cereal and bars are popular delivery systems,”​ he said.

Similarly, he added that the snack category was a “great food format for nutrition due to its portion control and portability”.

Asked if the protein boom would surpass fiber demands, Scherer said: “Fiber enrichment will continue to be in demand for bakery, cereal and snacks due to the fiber consumption gap. Protein enrichment is growing in breakfast cereals and nutrition-based snacks.”

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1 comment

Bad news for the corn allergic

Posted by Donnie,

I have Celiac, and I'm allergic to corn. This is terrible news for all of the corn allergic people, since high protein corn ingredients will be even more hazardous. Hopefully, it will be truthfully labeled to warn us that it is in products. But, corn is rarely labeled for what it is. This causes severe reactions for the corn allergic people.

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