Soy protein quality not negatively impacted by processing, Unilever and Wageningen University research finds

Scientists from Unilever and Wageningen University have published some ground-breaking findings in the Frontiers in Nutrition journal – consumers have previously expressed concern that processed soy products (found in meat-free alternatives) are made less nutritious by these processes. The research has proven for the first time that processing soy increases the protein’s nutritional quality.

Soy is an often-used ingredient because of its high protein content and quality, relative to other plant-based ingredients. Before being used in plant-based protein-rich products, ingredients such as soy generally undergo several processing methods (such as soaking, grinding, and heating to create soy milk, or dehulling and fat extraction to create soybean flour, and then removing soluble carbohydrates from this to create soy protein concentrate – the main ingredient in The Vegetarian Butcher products.

This is a very exciting development given the rising level of demand for nutritious, high-quality vegetarian meat alternatives from environmentally-conscious consumers who are looking to transition away from meat and animal products, as it proves that meat-free alternatives can fulfil our bodies’ protein requirements.

Amelia Jarman, Unilever future health & wellness science and technology director, said the findings of this research “put to bed” concerns that processed soy-based foods are an inadequate source of protein.

“Our Unilever food brand, The Vegetarian Butcher, offers plant-based meats that provide a good source of protein, and can be used to create delicious and nutritious meals. Plant-based foods are better for the health of people and the planet, and this research demonstrates that protein quality is not compromised,” Jarman said.

See the full paper here – link.

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