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Why Pick Pea Protein? A Complete Guide to it's Benefits and Uses.

by Ellie Grubb on 16.5.2024

Protein is one of the cornerstones of a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough from the right sources is a challenge. It is involved in almost all bodily functions and physiological processes, including muscle repair, immune function and hormone function.

Pea protein, in particular, offers a wide variety of health benefits, without the need to consume animal protein. Not only is pea protein a complete protein source, containing all nine essential amino acids necessary for human health, but it is gentle on the digestive system and allergen-free, making it suitable for individuals with dietary restrictions or sensitivities. In addition to that, it's naturally low in fat, a source of fibre and rich in plant-based nutrients, vitamins and minerals. 

Read on to discover why pea protein should be a staple in your every day diet.

What is Pea Protein? 

Pea protein is a plant-based protein derived from yellow peas, also known as Pisum sativum. It is extracted from dried yellow peas through a process that involves grinding the peas into a fine powder and removing the starch and fibre, leaving behind a concentrated protein powder.

Pea protein can be used in a variety of food and beverage applications, including as a meat replacement, added to other ingredients in manufacturing, snacks, breakfast bars or crispy crumb, amongst many other applications. It is often chosen for its neutral flavour, smooth texture, and versatility in cooking and food manufacturing.

It's a nutritious and sustainable plant-based protein option that offers numerous health benefits and culinary possibilities for individuals seeking to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets but are mindful of their impact on the planet at the same time.

What is Pea Protein Isolate? 

Pea Protein Isolate is a highly refined form of protein which is derived from yellow peas. It is produced through a process that involves extracting the protein from dried yellow peas and removing most of the non-protein components, such as carbohydrates and fats. This results in a concentrated protein powder with a high protein content, typically upwards of 80% protein. Novo Farina Textured Pea Protein ingredients are made from using Whole Pea Flour and Pea Protein Isolate. Only 2 ingredients, which give them a very clean label declaration. 

Why do we choose to use Pea Protein Isolate?

As a meat replacement ingredient manufacturer, we choose to use Pea Protein Isolate in our products to increase the amount of protein by weight of our finished products. Many Vegans and Vegetarians lack protein in their diets so choose their alt-protein ingredients based on this nutritional value alone. 

Pea Protein Isolate also boasts a fantastic range of BCAAs (branch-chain amino acids) which are important for muscle repair, growth and overall health

Is Pea Protein Isolate processed? 

Yes, Pea Protein Isolate undergoes processing to extract the protein from yellow peas and remove most of the non-protein components, such as carbohydrates and fats.

The goal of processing Pea Protein Isolate is to concentrate the protein content while reducing the presence of other components, resulting in a purer and more concentrated protein powder. Once added to our British made Pea Flour, it produces a plant-based protein that’s highly versatile and functional.

Overall, while Pea Protein Isolate is indeed processed, it doesn't include any added additives, starches or preservatives to improve the texture and taste so it remains a valuable and nutritious plant-based protein option. 

Why use Pea Protein over other ingredients? 

As a meat replacement in the foodservice category, it is second to none in terms of it's clean-dec label, made of only two ingredients - yellow pea flour and pea protein isolate. It boasts allergen-free, ambient, high protein credentials and is easily digestible so can be used in recipes that cater for all dietary requirements. 

Moreover, by the careful combination of Pea Flour and Pea Protein Isolate, it's taste neutral properties make it the perfect base ingredient for chefs looking to experiment with their own curated recipes without being over-powered by pre-populated flavourings. 

As a food manufacturer looking to increase protein in food-to-go, recipe boxes, pet food or even meat or vegan products, pea protein gives added protein and texture without the added preservatives and over-powering flavour. We have a range of different size textured pea protein ingredients at Novo Farina, with varying protein percentages, suitable for a range of applications. 

What's the difference between Pea Protein Isolate vs Pea Protein Concentrate? 

The main differences between Pea Protein Isolate and Pea Protein Concentrate lie in their protein content, processing methods, and nutritional profiles:

  1. Protein Content:

    • Pea Protein Isolate undergoes more extensive processing to remove most of the non-protein components, resulting in a product with a higher protein concentration. Pea protein isolates typically contain upwards of 80% protein. This is why they are used in meat replacement ingredients where protein levels are key. 
    • Pea Protein Concentrate retains more of the carbohydrates, fats, and fibre. As a result, pea protein concentrates are typically 50-60%.
  2. Processing Methods:

    • Pea Protein Isolate: To produce pea protein isolate, yellow peas are ground into a fine powder and mixed with water. The protein is then separated from the other components through to concentrate the protein content.
    • Pea Protein Concentrate: Pea protein concentrate undergoes less processing compared to isolate as the carbohydrates and fats are left in the final ingredient. It may involve similar initial steps of grinding and mixing with water, but this results in a less concentrated protein product at the end of the process. 
  3. Nutritional Profile:

    • Pea Protein Isolate: Due to its higher protein concentration, pea protein isolate provides a more concentrated source of protein with fewer carbohydrates and fats per serving. It is often preferred for individuals seeking a purer protein source with fewer additional nutrients.
    • Pea Protein Concentrate: Pea protein concentrate retains more carbohydrates, fats, and fibre. While it still provides a significant amount of protein, it is less concentrated and may have a slightly different flavour and texture compared to isolate.

In summary, pea protein isolate is a highly refined form of protein with a higher protein concentration, while pea protein concentrate retains more of the carbohydrates and fats. The choice between isolate and concentrate depends on factors such as desired protein content, nutritional profile, flavour, and intended use in foodservice and food manufacturing products.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, pea protein offers a versatile and nutritious solution for enhancing the protein content of plant-based alternatives. With their clean-label credentials, allergen-free properties, and sustainability benefits, these ingredients are increasingly popular choices for chefs, food manufacturers and consumers alike. Whether used as a meat replacement in foodservice or incorporated into a wide range of culinary creations, pea protein provides a valuable source of protein with numerous health benefits.

At Novo Farina, we are committed to manufacturing high-quality British made pea protein ingredients that empower chefs and food manufacturers to create innovative and delicious plant-based dishes while supporting their health and sustainability goals. Get in touch if you'd to join us on our mission for sustainable nutrition.