Providing the plant-based foods of today and tomorrow with legumes and cutting-edge technology

#SmartProtein
Source: Photo from Müller’s Mühle, various pulses

 The market for plant-based foods and drinks is booming, particularly in the US, the UK, and Germany.¹ Acumen Research and Consulting recently reported that, between 2012 and 2017, the demand for meat-free meals jumped by a phenomenal 987%. At the same time, the plant-based-food sector is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of around 9.1%, reaching $24.3 billion by 2026.²

With plant-based protein sources such as legumes being increasingly recognised for their nutritional properties, sustainable cultivation, and allergen-free potential, plant-based food manufacturers are ideally placed to meet the discerning needs of various target groups.

Müller’s Mühle, a history of innovation

Playing an active role in this burgeoning industry is Müller’s Mühle. With more than a century’s worth of B2C business credentials, the company is the largest supplier of dried legumes in Germany and is now using its foundation of procurement, processing, and refining to meet the B2B market’s need for plant-based proteins. For example, Müller’s Mühle offers legume flours and concentrates based on fava beans, chickpeas, red lentils, and yellow peas for a wide range of applications.

For the vegan market, for example, legume flours can be used as a base for dairy/egg alternatives as well as textured vegetable protein in meat alternatives. Protein-enrichment possibilities include infant food, sports nutrition, breakfast products, baked goods, pasta, and snacks, as well as flours, texturisers, and emulsifiers for gluten-free goods.

Investing in a plant-based future

“With a wealth of expertise forged over the course of many generations, we are well positioned to shape the future of nutrition. Legumes are the ideal and most sustainable basis for contemporary foods and provide the building blocks for creating outstanding ingredients for sustainable, indulgent, and healthy end-products. In doing so, we are committed to sharing our know-how with both research institutes and the industry in order to ensure that more and more legume-based foods enter the market,” says Uwe Walter, Managing Director.

Müller’s Mühle supports the Smart Protein Project with its decades of legume experience and know-how. In terms of putting theory into practice, the company thoroughly understands how to process legume-based ingredients at an industrial scale. In order to expand its product portfolio, the company has invested and implemented a new air-separation technology that is used to produce high-protein concentrates. Once free from all impurities — thanks to modern on-site equipment — the crops are mechanically dehulled and the husks removed. The dehulled pulses are finely ground in a classifier mill and then, again thanks to the new technology, separated into carbohydrate-rich and protein-rich fractions.

Source: Photo from Müller’s Mühle, pro-pulses burger patty preparation

Production Advantages

This process makes a wider variety of high-protein legume flours and application possibilities available to industry. By separating the two fractions, concentrates with a protein content of up to 65% can be obtained. In addition, the derived concentrates also contain a rich array of valuable nutrients such as dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and secondary plant substances.

“We look forward to further developing our processing and application know-how with these new capabilities and bringing fresh insights to the Smart Protein project. It’s fabulous to see so many energised companies working to make plant-based proteins more accessible and contributing to a healthier future. We are proud to be a part of that,” concludes Christian Bärenwalde, Business Development Manager.

References

  1. www.acumenresearchandconsulting.com/vegan-food-market.
  2. www.sustainalytics.com/esg-blog/2020-the-year-of-the-flexitarian/#:~:text=In%20the%20UK%2C%20one%20in,their%20meat%20intake%5Bii%5D.