Food into Superfood at the price of all-purpose flour

Repurposing defatted seeds from animal to human consumption creates an opportunity for the fortification of popular products for nutrition-focused customers at a fraction of the cost.

Open Pilot Proposal

PROBLEM:

Changing consumer preferences for healthier choices have created a robust demand for healthy, plant-based products. The global plant-based protein market is expected to reach USD 10,892.3 million by 2022, which is supported by a CAGR of 6.7% during the forecast period from 2017 to 2022. Market growth is mainly driven by increasing awareness about the benefits of protein, growing demand for protein-rich diets, the growing health & wellness trend, increasing consumer focus on meat alternatives, rising demand from the food & beverage industry, and various advancements in ingredient technologies such as microencapsulation.

The global plant-based protein market is mainly segmented by type (soy protein, wheat protein, pea protein, canola protein, potato protein, rice protein, corn protein, and others), and application (food and beverages, animal feed, nutrition and health supplements, pharmaceuticals, and others).

Geographically, the global plant-based protein market is segmented into five major regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America accounted for the majority share in the global plant-based protein market, followed by Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

North America’s majority share can be attributed to the well-established food and beverage industry, rising concerns over animal products and protein, a growing vegan population, growing preference for meat alternatives, increasing demand for healthy & nutritional products, and the health & wellness trend. However, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a rapid pace as well, due to increasing protein-rich diet awareness, increasing health consciousness, a booming food & beverages industry, a growing economy, rapid urbanization, and a large vegan population.

Consumers Want Plant-Based:

1:3 consumers purchase plant-based meats, according to Mintel.

3:5 millennials consume plant-based meats, according to a survey conducted by 210 Analytics.

1:4 consumers are cutting down on meat, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

1:3 consumers prefer plant-based milks, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

The plant-based food sector experienced overall growth of 8.1 percent since last year, as compared to a decline of 0.2 percent for all foods sold in the same channel, according to Nielsen. Plant-based protein could represent one-third of overall protein by 2054, according to Lux Research.

Plant-Based Is Better For The Environment:

Plant-based foods produce 10x less greenhouse gas emissions than are produced by beef production, according to a study by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Consumption of plant-based foods could free up land 1.6x the size of California if beans were substituted for beef in the US diet, according to a study by Helen Harwatt et al.

Plant-based foods require 10x less water, fuel, and fertilizer, according to a study by Sabaté, Sranacharoenpong, Harwatt, et al.

Competitors

The key players in the global plant based protein market are Archer Daniels Midland Company (U.S.), Cargill, Incorporated (U.S.), Roquette Freres Le Romarin (France), Ingredion Inc. (U.S.), Kerry Group (Ireland), E.I. Dupont De Nemours and Company (U.S.), NOW Foods (U.S.), Tate & Lyle Plc (U.K.), Axiom Foods Inc. (U.S.), AMCO Proteins (U.S.), Burcon Nutrascience Corporation (Canada), Beneo GmbH (Germany), Glico Nutrition Co., Ltd. (Japan), Glanbia plc. (Ireland), Corbion NV (the Netherland), Cosucra Groupe Warcoing SA (Belgium), Sotexpro (France), Farbest Brands (U.S.), Crespel & Deiters GmbH & Co. KG (Germany), Wilmar International Ltd. (Singapore), and CHS Inc. (U.S.).

OPPORTUNITY:

While cholesterol-free, plant-based protein and dietary fiber are extremely valuable ingredients, the defatted seeds of oily crops (like sunflower and canola) are currently fed to animals and represent an untapped source of protein and fiber for human consumption.

For instance:

  • Defatted sunflower seeds contain 35% protein by weight, > 26% in beef > 22% in bean/chickpea flour and >20% in up-cycled spent grain flour,
  • Defatted sunflower seeds have 18% fiber by weight, > 2.4% in apple
  • Protein from defatted sunflower seeds costs $1.6/kg, < $4.9 from Soy < $7.8 from Pea

Repurposing defatted seeds from animal to human consumption creates an opportunity for the fortification of popular products for nutrition-focused customers at a fraction of the cost.

PROPOSITION:

PLANETARIANS proposes to co-develop a range of ingredients from defatted seeds based on PLANETARIANS’ patent-pending applications for defatted seeds as an ingredient.

High-protein, high-fiber ingredients from defatted seeds can be used for fortification in the following recipes:

  • dough for breads, baked products, pancakes, tortilla, pizza crust, etc.
  • flour for pasta, lasagna, instant noodles, ravioli, dumplings
  • crisps for protein bars, croutons, confectionary products
  • protein bread crumbs for meatless products

Replacing 30% of the all-purpose flour in a recipe with defatted seeds doubles the protein and fiber content, while keeping costs the same.

TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION:

Historically, defatted seeds have been used in animal feed as a way to utilize the by-products of oilseed crushing plants. With the growth in demand for animal-based products, defatted seeds turned out to be a valuable source of animal feed. However, animals are extremely inefficient tools to produce food.

From the initial calories in defatted seeds, humans get only 17% of that number of calories when we feed defatted seeds to poultry and then consume poultry. We get 9% of that total if we feed defatted seeds to pigs and then consume pork, and 3% (3!) of that total when we feed defatted seeds to cows, and then consume beef.

PLANETARIANS invented a method to re-purpose defatted seeds for human consumption, and filed a patent for the process and ingredients. PLANETARIANS’ patent application prohibits competitors from using defatted seeds in any food product for human consumption.

PLANETARIANS manufacturing process was tested and optimized at the University of Minnesota. The resulting product was certified for nutritional content by Medallion Labs.

Market tests of chips from up-cycled defatted sunflower seeds (with 3x more protein, 2x more fiber and 3x less fat per serving than typical potato chips) demonstrated 69% average month-to-month growth, totaling $37,000 revenue during March-May 2018.

Using SunMeal as an ingredient from defatted sunflower seeds allows food manufacturers to turn regular food into superfood. SunMeal is allergen free and non-GMO, unlike soy-based proteins. SunMeal is 5x cheaper than pea protein, and is a good source of fiber.

METRICS:

Protein and fiber levels, costs.

POTENTIAL IMPACT:

Our success with defatted sunflower seeds suggests we can develop ingredients from the defatted seeds of other oily crops, including canola, cotton seeds, etc. If we repurposed all of the defatted seeds wasted or fed to livestock, and made them available for human consumption, we could feed 1.5 billion people for an entire year, without growing any more crops than we already do.

TECHNOLOGY PLATFORM Opportunity:

We have developed a key ingredient from defatted sunflower seeds, and can become a technology platform for developing multiple recipes for use in food service, home and in consumer-packaged products. These products/recipes may include:

  • Protein-rich noodles for soups, ramen, pasta, ravioli-like products
  • High-protein bread, and spreads and toppings for sandwiches, pizza, tacos
  • Protein chips, and dips and sauces
  • Meatless products with more protein than meat

Use of the ingredients created from defatted seeds is limited by the patent-pending applications for ingredients, filed by PLANETARIANS in 2017, and creates an opportunity for establishing our own rules for the market.

RISKS:

Defatted seeds have a dense texture due to protein and fibrous content, and a dark color.

BENEFITS:

  • Provides access to a new, sustainable source of healthy ingredients
  • Cuts costs for alternative proteins in current formulations
  • Reduces carbon emissions from foodservice operations
  • Creates shared value for collaborators and the Earth

RISK MITIGATION:

Lab tests show that replacing 30% of a product’s ingredients with defatted seeds doubles the protein and fiber content, while keeping costs and texture the same. Replacing 50% of the ingredients with defatted seeds triples the protein and fiber content, but requires additional work to ensure the texture is as desired.

About author: Aleh Manchuliantsau is a food developer at PLANETARIANS. He previously created and sold over 1 million bottles of nutritionally complete meals. Right now, Aleh is working on up-cycling food waste into tasty and healthy snacks. His goal? To feed a growing population without the need to grow more crops.

Aleh Manchuliantsau