Vegetable processors could benefit from new technology, which can turn potato waste into a valuable protein.
Potato ingredients supplier Solanic has used its new mild treatment process to develop a vegetable-based protein with the functionality of a meat-based protein. "Manufacturers used to dump waste in rivers; then they started to use protein for animal feed, but our technology is able to extract protein of good enough quality for human consumption," says Frank Goovaerts, Solanic's director of commerce.
Solanic chief technology officer Marco Giuseppin says the technology could be applicable to other manufacturing processes. "First, our intention is to get Solanic running, but we have had discussions with interested parties," he says. There is a possibility to use the technology in any vegetable stream, but not all vegetable sources have an intrinsic valuable protein, he adds.
Goovaerts explains: "You have a huge variety of protein in the market - whey, soy, egg etc. Most of those proteins have some unique benefit, so in general terms you cannot say which is best. There's a shift towards vegetable proteins because of consumer health trends and concerns over allergies. But there are disadvantages to vegetable proteins. For example, soy doesn't taste good."
But animal proteins also have their disadvantages. "Confectionery obviously uses a lot of gelatin, but today people are concerned about eating animal bones. There are also negative associations with animal proteins and animal diseases."
However, Solanic's new potato protein has high solubility, excellent gelation and foaming capacity, claims Giuseppin. "We now have a robust process for large scale protein production aimed at high added value food applications. Product development with customers in the dairy, bakery and meat segments is in full swing." The first commercial applications will launch this autumn.