PepsiCo seeks novel protein sources with 'easy to pronounce' names and 'a good sustainability story'

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

PepsiCo has conducted 'extensive work' into soy, moringa, Khai-nam (duckweed), cricket powder, meal worm powder, pea, and dairy protein
PepsiCo has conducted 'extensive work' into soy, moringa, Khai-nam (duckweed), cricket powder, meal worm powder, pea, and dairy protein

Related tags Milk Dairy product Cheese

PepsiCo is seeking “new and novel protein sources for snacks and beverages," while Mondelēz International is looking for new technologies to improve the freshness and texture of fruits and veggies in Philadelphia cream cheese.

The requests – posted on NineSigma’s open innovation site NineSights ​– show that the world’s biggest food manufacturers are increasingly looking beyond the four walls of their own R&D departments to find partners to help them create the next generation of consumer products.

They are also restricting searches to non-GMO, clean-label ingredients with "easy to pronounce​" or "label-friendly​" names and a "good sustainability story."

In its request for novel protein sources​ – which has a deadline of December 29, 2017 – PepsiCo explains that it “wishes to avoid usage of dairy, egg, meat, and gelatin sourced protein​” and has already conducted “extensive work​” into soy, moringa, Khai-nam (duckweed), cricket powder, meal worm powder, pea, and dairy protein, and is not​ looking for submissions utilizing these sources.

Plants, fungi, insects

However, other plant-based, mycoprotein-based or insect-based proteins are of interest, it says.


PepsiCo would like to achieve a protein level that provides a measurable positive impact for consumers while enabling a comparable consumer experience. Therefore, PepsiCo seeks either novel protein sources - plant-based or mycoprotein ​[fungi-based] or insect) - or innovative processing methods to utilize any of the above protein sources.

Efficient delivery of good nutrition protein (high PDCAAS) is highly desired​,” while the proteins should ideally be clean label and non-GMO, with “minimal flavor and texture impact."

They should also be “process friendly for snack and beverage applications (extrusion, baking, homogenizing).”

‘A good sustainability story’

Protein sources that can offer nutritional benefits in addition to high protein content are also appealing, “especially if the level is claimable in the typical amount used in the application, e.g. 100% RDA of Vitamin E​,” notes PepsiCo.

Finally, it’s looking for an “easy to pronounce​” name and “a good sustainability story.”

Mondelez seeks fresher, crunchier fruit & veg preparations

Mondelēz International, meanwhile, is seeking novel processing techniques that will significantly improve the “fresh-like sensory features​” of fruit or vegetable preparations it uses in its Philadelphia cream cheese such that they have a “crunchy bite texture, fresher taste, and improved color appearance.

philadelphia garden veg cheese

It explains: “Normally these [fruit/veg preparations] are prepared in > 250 kg, pressurized/locked seal openings containers, by pasteurization at > 80°C for 5-10 minutes in batch or continuous cookers. The heating profile is necessary to achieve the microbiological target criteria… However, pasteurization leads to damage and texture loss, color and taste deterioration. When these fruit or vegetables are used in cream cheese the resulting flavored cream cheese product is not like a fresh made reference.
“The fruit and vegetable preparation industry is aware of this quality gap and constantly trying to optimize their processing and formula conditions. However, the quality of all micro-stable preparations provided today is not like the quality of fresh produce, for example: the crunchy bite experience with paprika and tomato; the color appearance of fresh green herbs or red berries.”

New pasteurization technologies

Mondelez is not​ interested in “preparations with very high salt content; solely HPP ​[high pressure processing] technology treated product with residual enzyme activity risk, or preparations pasteurized or sterilized significantly above 75°C for more than 10 min.”

However, ​the proposed technology could involve “innovative functional ingredients or formula design,​” the application of “innovative preservation or functional ingredients in the recipe to enable more effective bacteria inactivation through minimal heat processing​,” or “smart bulk packaging effectively preserved from outside via HPP or autoclaving or other new pasteurization technologies.”

Solutions must be 'label friendly' and 'of natural origin'

Mondelez is also looking for new ways to create high quality aerated dairy products without using gelatin, which has excellent functional qualities but suffers from a lack of “consumer acceptance​” in dairy products.

“The animal origin and poor image creates a problem for many consumers.”

Alternatives must be allergen-friendly, “label friendly​” and “of natural origin​,” says Mondelez, with possible approaches including combinations of dairy or plant-based proteins and other functional food ingredients, and “novel protein based surfactants derived from fungi​.”

Hydrocolloid-based systems in combination with emulsifiers have "not matched quality expectations so far,"​ it adds.

Read about more technology needs from Mondelez ​and PepsiCo ​on the NineSights open innovation platform. 

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