The demand for plant-based protein sources is ever-increasing, with a growing interest in hemp protein as a sustainable source. In fact, according to Grand View Market Research, the plant-based protein market is expected to grow exponentially through 2028 as consumers look for healthier, more sustainable protein sources.¹

      Because of this, many food manufacturers are incorporating different types of plant-based proteins into their food products. If you’re looking to use plant proteins in your products, there are a number of options to choose from.

      Here we take a look at some of the most popular plant-based protein sources - soy, pea, almond, chickpea, and hemp, including our next-generation hemp protein, V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein.

      Soy Protein

      Soy protein is one of the most well-known and widely used plant-based protein sources by food manufacturers. It was one of the original plant-based proteins and blends into food formulations well. It can be neutral in flavor, but many consumers also describe it as having a beany or chalky taste that is not always palatable.

      Soy is considered a complete plant protein along with hemp, pea, and chickpea protein, providing all of the nine essential amino acids we need to obtain from food. It also contains a decent dose of zinc.

      However, soy is listed as one of the top 8 allergens. Since soy is also considered a phytoestrogen, (in that it exerts estrogen-like effects in the body) it’s still unclear how much soy is safe for hormonal health.²

      Soy has a similar nutritional profile to hemp, but does not match up in terms of sustainability. Synthetic chemicals and fertilizers are often used in soy production, and the process can also lead to more soil erosion.³

      Learn more about soy vs. hemp protein’s nutrition profile, here.

      Pea Protein

      Pea protein is another popular plant-based protein source used by food formulators and is derived from raw peas. It is used in a variety of plant-based products and as a single ingredient added to smoothies or shakes.

      Like hemp and soy protein, pea contains all nine essential amino acids. While it is nutritious, pea has a more bitter, earthy taste that usually requires food manufacturers to add expensive masking agents to make it more palatable. 

      This increases the cost of production, and doesn’t always fully mask the taste.

      Pea protein has a fairly similar nutritional profile to hemp, but does not contain the plant-based fats that make hemp protein particularly healthful.⁴

      Learn more about pea vs. hemp protein’s nutrition profile, here.

      Almond Protein

      Almond protein is a more novel protein source in foods, and possesses a mild, nutty flavor. It is used in food products but it is not nearly as widespread as soy and pea proteins.

      When compared to hemp, almond protein is significantly lower in protein at around 40% protein. Especially when compared to V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein (containing >70% protein), almond protein is 30% lower in protein content. Almond protein is also not considered a complete protein like hemp.⁵

      Almonds are also one of the top 8 allergens, and are considered a tree nut. One major difference is in almond protein’s lack of sustainability as compared to hemp. Almonds are a very water-intensive crop, and require 1227 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of almonds! This is much higher than the 325 gallons required to produce hemp grain.⁶

      Learn more about almond vs. hemp protein’s nutrition profile, here.

      Chickpea Protein

      Chickpea protein is used by some food formulators as a plant-based protein source. It is darker in color than hemp heart protein, and has a stronger, more beany taste that many consumers dislike. Due to this, masking agents are often required when using chickpea protein in food products.

      Like hemp, chickpea protein is free of the top 8 allergens, contains all 9 essential amino acids and is eco-friendly.

      However, when it comes to its nutritional makeup, chickpea protein simply does not stack up when compared to hemp. One serving of chickpea protein is significantly lower in protein and is four times higher in carbs than an equivalent hemp protein serving. 

      A food manufacturer can create a product with more protein, less carbs, and a superior flavor by choosing hemp vs. chickpea protein.

      Learn more about chickpea vs. hemp protein’s nutrition profile, here.

      Hemp Protein

      Hemp protein comes from hemp seeds, and is increasing in popularity for food formulations. Hemp has a rich nutritional profile that matches consumer demand when compared to other plant-based proteins.

      For example, hemp contains all nine essential amino acids and is rich in essential minerals and antioxidants necessary for consumer health. These include iron, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and a particular antioxidant called lignanamides. 

      Hemp seeds also contain the ideal 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. 

      Hemp protein is also GMO-free and perfect for the eco-conscious consumer. The hemp plant has the ability to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil, thereby replenishing unhealthy soil in the process.⁷

      Learn more about hemp protein benefits and its nutritional profile, here.

      An Innovative New Hemp Protein

      Traditional hemp protein is green and has a grassy flavor. This can present problems for formulators based on the strong herbaceous flavor. Victory Hemp recognized these challenges with taste and functionality and developed our novel V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein, a more desirable hemp protein option. 

      V-70™ is made from hemp hearts instead of whole hemp seeds. One of the benefits of using hemp hearts is that they produce a protein powder that is white in color and neutral in taste compared to traditional hemp protein. V-70™ is also packed with far more protein (>70% to be exact) per serving compared to traditional 50% hemp protein powders.

      Because of the bland flavor, no expensive flavorings or masking agents are required, and therefore formulators can keep ingredient lists to a minimum. The neutral taste also means this hemp protein can be used in a wide variety of applications such as meat or dairy analogues, nutrition bars, sports drinks, baked goods, and more. 

      The best part is V-70™ Hemp Heart Protein is made without the use of harsh chemical solvents or additives such as hexane, for enhanced consumer safety.

      Interested in a high protein, great-tasting ingredient for your next project? Contact our hemp seed ingredient specialists to discuss your project in detail and request a sample!





      Full Article by Melissa Mitri, MS, RD
      May 10, 2022