Plant-based protein supplements have become increasingly popular in recent years, as more and more people are turning towards plant-based diets for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. These supplements offer a convenient and effective way to meet daily protein requirements without consuming animal products. However, the sources of plant-based protein used in supplements are often limited to a few well-known options, such as soy, pea, and rice protein. In this article, we will explore new and innovative sources of plant-based protein that are being used in supplements.
New Sources of Plant-Based Protein
Algae are a diverse group of aquatic organisms that have been gaining attention as a source of protein. One type of algae, called spirulina, is particularly rich in protein, with around 60% protein content by weight. It is also a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs to function properly. Spirulina is already widely used in food and dietary supplements, and it is also being explored as a protein source for animal feed and aquaculture.
Duckweed is a small aquatic plant that grows rapidly and has a high protein content. Like spirulina, it is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. Duckweed is also rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a nutritious addition to plant-based supplements.
Hemp is a versatile plant that has many uses, including as a source of protein. Hemp protein is made from the seeds of the hemp plant and is rich in essential fatty acids, fiber, and minerals, in addition to protein. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is easy to digest, making it a popular choice for plant-based supplements.
Innovative Uses of Plant-Based Protein
Insects are a highly efficient source of protein, requiring far less land, water, and feed than traditional livestock. They are also rich in nutrients and can be raised sustainably. Several companies are now using insect protein in plant-based supplements, such as cricket protein powder.
Food Waste Protein
Food waste is a major environmental issue, but it can also be a source of protein. Companies are now using byproducts of food processing, such as pulp from juice production, as a source of protein for plant-based supplements. This reduces waste and creates a new use for materials that would otherwise be discarded.
Fermentation is a natural process that has been used for centuries to make foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Now, companies are using fermentation to create plant-based protein supplements. By fermenting plant proteins, they become more digestible and bioavailable, meaning the body can absorb more of the nutrients.
As plant-based diets continue to grow in popularity, it is important to explore new and innovative sources of plant-based protein for supplements. By expanding the variety of plant-based supplements available, consumers have more options to choose from and can meet their protein needs in a sustainable and nutritious way. Insects, food waste, fermentation, and algae are just a few examples of new sources of plant-based protein that are being used in supplements. While some of these sources may be unfamiliar to consumers, they offer unique nutritional profiles and sustainable benefits that traditional sources of plant-based protein may not have. As the demand for plant-based supplements continues to grow, it is likely that we will see more companies exploring and utilizing these new and innovative sources of protein.