Following the stock market sensation of Beyond Meat, the pea crop is experiencing a massive surge of growth and demand, with farmers in the U.S. and Canada set to plant 20% more pea crops according to Bloomberg, which says that “the tiny legume has suddenly gotten pulled into the alt-protein craze fueled by the likes of Beyond Meat Inc. and the Impossible Burger.”
As the growth of veganism spreads worldwide, producers are starting to recognise the value of pea as an alternative source of protein for a variety of applications. Pea has an excellent nutritional profile, a limited allergen content, and is an excellent source of protein and fibre.
“Prices are moving higher, buoyed as well by rising demand from pet-food makers, and growers in the U.S. and Canada are now rushing to put more peas in the ground,” says the Bloomberg article. The rise in price is also due to the fact that pea protein is highly sought after for use in dietry supplements and is consumed by bodybuilders as an excellent protein source. According to Stockhouse.com, “The pea protein market is an integral part of the food & beverage industry. It’s driven by the rising demand for processed and healthy food products. It is also an alternative to meat food, which is gaining popularity in the western regions.”
Textured pea protein is the fastest growing segment due to its ease of use in meat alternative products; it is being used increasingly by manufacturers of veggie burgers, nuggets, and sausages etc., bolognaise sauces, and various other applications such as pizza dressing.
Manufacturing companies utilising pea protein on a large scale include Burcon and Roquette; various milk producers currently creating pea milks such as DrinkStar GmbH and Qwrkee, and pea is now being increasingly utilised in baking products as we reported here.