May, 2021

Shape your plant protein: concentrate, isolate or TVP?

Nowadays, we can find plant-based products in any supermarket, their demands is increasing among vegetarians, vegans and flexitarians. Generally, the most common sources of plant-based proteins are soy and wheat, followed by cereals and legumes.

From these sources we can extract the plant proteins, which can have different shapes, ranging in texture and protein content. More in detail, through some transformational processes there can be obtained four shapes of plant proteins: flours, concentrates, isolates, and texturized vegetable proteins. But what are the main differences?

Flour, concentrate, isolate and TVP

  • The most common and well-known type is flour, a powder obtained by grinding vegetable matrices which naturally contain protein, such as legumes. Flours generally contain less than 65% of protein.

In addition to flours, there are two other types of protein powders, called concentrates and isolates, which differ in the percentage of protein they contain.

  • Concentrates are produced by extracting some of the oil or starch contained in the protein source. This process results in a powder with a high protein content, usually around 65%.
  • On the other hand, isolates are powders obtained in a similar way, but their protein content is around 90%.
  • TVPs (texturized vegetable proteins) derived from protein concentrates or isolates that are extruded and texturized. During this process the proteins are stretched into an extended shape.

TVPs appear as dry bites and can be produced in different granulometries, depending on the use. They have high water absorbency and, once cooked, they have a texture similar to meat and fish. They also have a neutral taste and odor and are therefore suitable for flavoring.

For these reasons they are an excellent starting base to create, for example, a stew or a vegetable ragout. TVPs can also be used dry to make protein bars, as well as muesli or salty snacks for appetizers.

Flours, concentrates and isolates can be added to foods to increase their nutritional value and give them specific functional properties.

The functional qualities of proteins are the physical and chemical properties that have an impact on the process, preparation and consumption of the food product, process, preparation and consumption of the food product. These are the ability to retain water or oil (water holding capacity and oil holding capacity), the foaming capacity, the gelling capacity and emulsion capacity. The functional properties of an ingredient are important characteristics to consider when formulating new food products, such as plant-based alternatives to animal products.

For example, do you want to create a vegan cappuccino or a mousse? Then the ideal plant-based ingredient will need to have a high foaming capacity, to recreate the typical foamy texture. Similarly, if you want to create a gluten free bakery product, you can use flour, concentrate or isolate with a high gelling capacity, for replacing the gluten shield typical of baked products.

Did you know these differences between plant-based protein ingredients?

With Protilla you can uncover the ideal protein for the formulation you want, using its knowledge to match the functional properties of plant-based protein ingredients to their application. Learn about the different plant-based proteins with Protilla Finder!