Profi was born out of conversations the company had with one of its customers, CEO Chuck Harvey told FoodNavigator-USA.
“We were at a strategy session with one of our customers in Dubrovnik, in Croatia,” he said. “They wanted to add to their market appeal and we started talking to them about adding more fiber. They decided not to go in that direction, and I came back and said, well, if they’re not going to do it, we should.”
Quest for right taste, consistency
Harvey said the company then embarked on a search for partners who could supply the kind of ingredients at the right quality and price to assemble the finished solution he was trying to create. Profi comes in several different guises, depending on the application, but in general is bases on pea protein, lentil protein, oat protein, chick pea powder and high oleic sunflower oil.
“We looked at the market and there was not anything out there like this,” Harvey said. “We said, we can’t just bring a vegetarian protein on the market. It has to be functional. It has to be tasteless; with soy you have a taste profile you have to mask.
“We believe we came up with the right proteins to come out with a tasteless or very mildly sweet product. We wanted it not to be gritty. It took us a year to develop this blend that achieves that in a GMO free, allergen free, vegetable protein,” Harvey said.
Then there is the fiber addition. Harvey said the company uses fructooliggosaccharide that is derived from sugar cane.
Harvey acknowledged that all of the ingredients in the formula are available on the market. The intellectual property surrounding ingredient concerns the suppliers that Dealers uses and the precise parameters to which each component is manufactured.
“Yes, it’s pea protein, but it’s a certain grade of pea protein. The chick pea powder and the sugar cane fiber, they have to be ground properly,” he said. “You could go out and put this together yourself, but it would take time, and I ask customers, do you want to spend that time? Or would you rather spend it doing things you’re good at?”
Using the ingredient, Harvey said companies can easily boost both the fiber and protein content of baked goods, sauces, soups and other prepared foods. Using Profi at an including rate of 15 grams per 100 gram serving, or 22 grams for serving sizes of more than 100 grams, manufacturers can boost the protein content by about 9 grams per serving and the fiber content by about 8 grams, depending on the application.
“We will debut two cookies at IFT, a 60 gram serving. We put 15 grams of ProFi into them, and we came out with 9 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber for the two cookies. We will show a cupcake as well that has 8 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber,” Harvey said.
The goal was to compete directly with soy, but the ingredient came out a little more expensive, but Harvey said it has the value add of a more favorable taste profile and its non GMO positioning. And the ingredient is less expensive that dairy proteins.
“We are almost done with a chocolate beverage prototype that is high in protein, about 9 grams, with about 7 or 8 grams of fiber. You just mix it in water. It’s designed to compete with things like the Kellogg's dairy-based drinks. We have tested the ingredient in soups, pastas, veggies burgers and gluten free bread (Dealers offers a bakings-specific version of the ingredient that be substituted 1-for-1 with flour).
“At the end of the day we don’t want to be in the position of making these things. We do these prototypes and show our customers, here’s an application, and here’s how it compares to something you are making already,” Harvey said.