Water lentils - which double their biomass in 24-36 hours and can be harvested every day - have obvious advantages over other plant protein sources in that they grow incredibly rapidly [in water, rather than soil], all year around, said Parabel.
They are also unusual in that they “contain levels of essential amino acids and BCAAs comparable to whey, and higher than other plant proteins, including soy.”
Florida-based Parabel USA, which secured a ‘no objections’ letter from the FDA affirming the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its water lentil ingredients in 2018, said it would be in commercial production of the hydrolysate by the end of the year.
“The ingredient contains 65-70% hydrolyzed protein, is highly functional and can be used in meat analogues,” said the company, which launched with a whole food ingredient from water lentils called LENTEIN Complete (which has 45% protein), but has since unveiled other products including a plant-based ‘milk’ featuring water lentil protein.
“It also contains a complete amino acid profile which, together with the high digestibility of a hydrolyzed protein, make it a perfect solution for the sports protein industry. It is free from food allergens and is certified Non-GMO,” added the firm, which is finalizing its second water lentil farm near Vero Beach, Florida, in a move to increase capacity for its LENTEIN branded products to 3,500 tons a year.
“The water lentil hydrolysate has a superb functionality especially compared to other minimally processed ingredients. In conjunction with its complete amino acid profile and high digestibility it will be an easy drop-in solution to everything plant- based, from burgers and sausages to sports nutrition [products] and beverages.”
Anthony Tiarks, CEO Parabel
No ethanol or acid used to take out the [green] color
Asked how the protein hydrolysate was produced, marketing manager Cecilia Wittbjer told FoodNavigator-USA: “It’s a proprietary enzyme based process and as part of the process the green fraction is separated from the beige fraction… [But] we haven’t used any ethanol or acid to take out the color.”
Asked about the PDCAAS score, she said: “I can’t share the complete data yet but I can tell you that it’s made out of 100% soluble protein which indicates a digestibility of 1.0. The complete amino acid profile of water lentils together with the high digestibility indicate a high PDCAAS score, which of course will be well received in the sports protein industry.”
As for labeling, she said: "We assume it’s 'Water lentil (Lemnacae) protein hydrolysate' [given that] for LENTEIN Complete it's 'Water lentil (Whole Lemnaceae) protein,' so that’s my guess. We haven’t had it confirmed yet."
Appealing amino acid profile
Speaking to us last year, the company said: “The protein in LENTEIN is similar to that of an animal protein, which is unheard of in the plant protein category.”
Parabel, which makes protein flour, concentrates and isolates from water lentils, is working with makers of protein supplements, pasta, noodles, bakery and snacks, said Wittbjer. “The most important benefit for them [potential partners] has been the amino acid profile, which is similar to whey protein, which is unusual for a plant protein."
Water lentils produce a higher yield of protein than any other crop due to daily harvests, while Parabel’s growing and harvesting technology is highly scalable, claims the company. “The minimal [harvesting] process takes 30 minutes from farm to table and no chemicals are used during processing.”