Who says plants are meaty-ocre?

Manildra’s Gem of the West vital wheat gluten will help take your plant-based products from mediocre to superb. What many may recognize as a legacy staple in the baking industry, others have capitalized on the potential for a highly functional, high protein ingredient that is helping to grow the plant-based category. Gem of the West vital wheat gluten adds clean-label protein to any plant-based formulation. Gem of the West not only contributes protein content, but its versatile functionality has a multitude of benefits across many applications.

Gem of the West helps formulators bulk up the nutrition content of a plant-based product at relatively low cost. Wheat protein (gluten) as a stand-alone product is low in fat and carbohydrates, neutral in flavor, and low in sodium content. When paired with other proteins, like pulses, the nutrient profile further increases by rounding out the amino acid profile. Vital wheat gluten works synergistically with other plant-based proteins and can help increase digestibility of plant-based protein blends. The USDA recommended dietary allowance for daily protein intake is 0.8 g protein per 1 kilogram of weight per day, or approximately 54 g of protein per day for a 40-yr old female (1). Beyond its nutritional content, vital wheat gluten provides unique characteristics in the plant-based space as its functionality is inherently unique.

In bakery, vital wheat gluten is known to add strength and tolerance to a dough system; however, in the plant-based category, it can help with adhesion and water binding. Because of its adhesive properties, vital wheat gluten helps extruded and formed products retain its shape and structure after cooking. These same adhesive properties are a direct result of gluten’s ability to bind water, which is beneficial in formulations that need to retain moisture and juiciness during cook-up. Gem of the West is also contributing to structure and texture in plant-based meats. When hydrated, the viscoelastic structure of gluten creates a strong web-like matrix that is difficult to degrade, even after processing and cooking. This resistance to breakdown helps to replicate meat-like texture and bite that consumers are accustomed to in traditional meat products. When it comes to plant-based meats, Gem of the West provides customers with a functional protein that works across a large range of plant-based products.

Seitan is the oldest, and best-known use of vital wheat gluten in plant-based meat alternatives; but, did you know it can also be used in nuggets, patties, tenders and more? As a macro ingredient, Gem of the West provides the structure needed to withstand processing, cooking, and chewing like in a plant-based patty or crumble. As a micro ingredient, Gem of the West can aid in binding and act like a glue to hold together other ingredients like in a faux sausage or nugget. As consumers search for healthier and more environmentally conscious options, meat-alternative offerings continue to promise growth with 19% CAGR in from 2022-2027 making now the perfect time to expand your protein portfolio (2).

Here at Manildra, we are always looking for ways to add value to your products. Be on the lookout later this month for our take on plant-based meat, and as always reach out to our team of technical experts today for more information on Gem of the West and our portfolio of wheat starches and proteins.