I recently read Sarah Nassauer June 25th article in the Wall Street Journal online entitled “Meatless Burgers Make Their MLB Pitch.” Ms. Nassauer reported that the New York Mets undertook an unusual pregame warm-up. The Mets had agreed to be “taste-testers” for a new plant-based protein burger.
Mets pitching ace Jon Niese reports in the article to ask, “So this has zero beef?” The team’s catcher Anthony Recker wanted to know, “Is it all naturally derived?” He says he always tries to avoid foods with preservatives.
The burgers they were testing were made with pea protein and other non-meat ingredients and were the creation of California-based Beyond Meat. While Met fans may see this as a novelty, I rather like to call it an on-going trend among American consumers who crave more pea protein products and less red meat.
How can I call it a trend? Here at A&B Ingredients, we market a pea protein isolate under the trade name PisaneR. As such, we continue to see a growing trend among food manufacturers for more nutritional products, especially in the area of sports nutrition and weight loss. A key observation is that this growth not geared toward athletes alone, but rather an audience that includes individuals who lead a more active lifestyle.
The Journal report seems to back this up noting that “Total U.S. sales of frozen and refrigerated meat substitutes generated $394 million in 2013, up .5% compared with the previous year.” The statistics are from IRI, a retail sales tracking firm.
To me the message is abundantly clear — consumers want more natural food products.
What I especially like about pea protein is that it is specifically designed for use as a viable alternative protein source containing high levels of branched-chain amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, valine – arginine and lysine.
A non-genetically modified (GMO) pea protein isolate, Pisane for instance has excellent digestibility — 98% — and a well-balanced amino acid profile. It contains 88% to 90% protein, is gluten-free, and exhibits low incidents of allergens. In addition, the level of branched-chain amino acids in Pisane pea protein is higher than other vegetable proteins and is comparable to those found in milk and egg protein.
Pisane’s arginine content, for example, is the highest of all commercially available proteins and contributes to enhanced immune responses. The lysine content of pea protein helps with the building of muscle protein and which is required for growth and bone development.
Another plus for pea protein is the ever-growing move toward all-natural, clean-label ingredients. Pea protein has proven to be one of the most tolerated and accepted plant-based protein sources without labeling or high allergy issues.
And, as far as taste goes, well you’ll have to ask the Mets bench. They seem to warm-up to the idea of pea protein as an alternative, all-natural food source and have no problem putting it in their starting line-up.
May-be that’s why they are referred to as the Amazing Mets!