Emily Williams

A Pea Protein Revolution - Thoughts from our Commercial Director Emily Williams

by Ellie Grubb on 18.1.2024

In a time where conscious consumer choices drive the development of our food industry, the evolution of plant-based diets, and the quality and provenance of alternative protein sources to develop them, is under scrutiny.

From mock-meats to veg-led dishes, consumers adopting a complete or flexible plant-based diet want to better understand the foods they are eating and the nutritional benefits of them.

As the Commercial Director of the UK’s only Texturised Pea Protein manufacturer, I am excited to share insights into the remarkable journey of how our British produced Texturised Pea Protein is gaining recognition as a sustainable food champion and preferred pulse-based protein ingredient across various food industry sectors.

The Rise of Pea Protein

In recent years Pea Protein has emerged as a nutritional hero, offering an optimal balance of essential amino acids, an excellent source of fibre, high in protein and allergen free, making it a viable and versatile alternative to traditional protein sources.

Until now, Texturised Pea Protein (TPP) has been the lesser used alt-protein sidekick of Soya, but because of the spotlight on the super-high carbon footprint of soya and demand for clean labelling, we're seeing the appetite for high quality Texturised Pea Protein increase more than ever before.

Market Trends and Consumer Preferences

The plant-based food category continues to evolve after the post-pandemic boom of vegan 'meat' products seen saturating the shelves of UK supermarkets. The category is not, as the meat industry lobbyists that infiltrate the press would like us to believe, a dying trend. It is establishing with the rise of the Flexitarian.

Understanding market trends and the preferences of consumers is pivotal to our business strategy and industry. We develop products that can be easily adopted into product developments and innovation to enhance quality and improve sustainability credentials. We understand that today's plant-based food consumers are eating a little less meat and a little more veg. They don't want fake, they want food. Food that's sustainably sourced, provides healthy nutrition and tastes good!

Responsive to our Consumers Needs

Our core business model is founded on developing supply partnerships with food manufacturers and product development teams, however as demand for clean label plant-based protein solutions evolves we’re now actively servicing new sectors within foodservice.

Wanting an alternative to frozen veggie-friendly minces and chicken replacements, forward thinking caterers have sought an allergen free plant-based protein with minimum ingredients. The solution was our easy-to-use and ambient Pea Mince and Pea Protein Chunk products.

Whilst bulk was suitable for our food manufacturing clients, Foodservice customers required a smaller size bag which was more familiar for their catering teams to use. We therefore launched our hydrate-and-cook foodservice range in 1kg sized bag of Pea Mince and 250g of Pea Protein Chunks, which provided a like-for-like to fresh and frozen meat alternative products, but with the added bonus of doubling in quantity once hydrated.

Meeting Challenges with Innovation

Historical taste and texture perceptions of Pea Protein and poor quality, cheap imports of TVP has posed challenges, but at Novo Farina we view them as opportunities to innovate. Through relentless research and development, we've overcome taste and texture barriers, delivering our taste-neutral products which allows our consumers to develop their own individual culinary creations without any hint of 'pea flavours' coming through. Our commitment to innovation and sustainability propels us forward, ensuring we remain at the forefront of the Pea Protein Revolution and driving forwards a new British industry specialism.

Sowing Seeds of Sustainability

Environmental responsibility is not just a catchphrase for us, it's a guiding principle. Pea protein production boasts a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to traditional protein sources and Soya. At Novo Farina, we embrace sustainable practices, from growing our own supply of Yellow Peas in our home countries of Norfolk and Suffolk to working with suppliers to keep our food miles as low as possible.

The Road Ahead

As the Commercial Director of Novo Farina, I envision a future where Pea Protein plays a central role in meeting global nutritional needs sustainably. Our dedication to driving positive change extends beyond our products — it extends to collaborations, partnerships, and contributing to the wider debate on sustainable nutrition.

The Pea Protein Revolution is more than a trend; it's a testament to our collective responsibility towards the planet and our health. As a thought leader in the industry, I invite stakeholders, collaborators, and enthusiasts alike to join us in cultivating a sustainable future through the remarkable potential of Pea Protein. Together, we can nourish both the present and the generations to come, fostering a healthier, more sustainable world.