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Proteins in the food industry

Food products rich in protein and protein supplements are increasing in popularity in the food industry due to their good effects on the health and physiochemical properties. In addition the demand for new protein sources has been increasing for 40 years. Consumption of animal proteins has increased like vegetable proteins whereas 90 per cent of vegetable proteins are being used in animal food to cover the demand for meat products.


With the natural food movement, acceptance of organic food in the society and increased conciousness regarding the diet there is a noticable change in consumers' attitudes. This is reflected in the growth in market shares of organic and vegetarian food as well as the vegan movement in youth. Demand of tasty, sustainable and healthy food is the core of this movement that seeks to satisfy sense as well as need. Desires of this new consumer group are ehtically correct food products that don't have consequences like deforestation of the rain forest. Also there is the wish to abstain from consuming meat to reduce the meat production that counts among the biggest methan poluters worldwide.


By now the food industrie has also adapted to this trend and is trying to offer vegetable alternatives to animal proteins. From a nutritional point of view there is no argument against a diet consisting of vegetable proteins as long as it is made up of versatile protein sources. Furthermore vegetbale proteins are less expensive than animal proteins. This is illustrated through the energy requirements to produce a kilo of protein. Producing one kilo of vegetable protein requires around 8,33 kW (30 MJ) to 44 kW (160 MJ) of energy, depending on the type of plant. Producing one kilo of animal protein reuqires up to ten times that amount (83,3 kW to 440 kW).

This comparison highlights the potential of vegetable protein for the nutrition.