Elementa carries a range of plant-based proteins with useful and varied nutritional characteristics, including rice, pea, sunflower, pumpkin seed, hemp, fava bean and quinoa proteins. Our proteins are available as isolates, hydrolysates, concentrates and powders. All are composed of 50 to 80% proteins on dry matter. They are certified GMO-free, naturally gluten-free, lactose-free and are available as organic products.
Among our plant-based ingredients, we also offer organic hydrolysed rice, oat and quinoa cereals.
Plant-origin proteins can satisfy human protein needs, as an alternative to animal-origin proteins, catering to vegan and vegetarian diets as well as other special diets (food allergies, intolerances).
Elementa offers a wide range of plant proteins derived from various plants of interest:
Rice proteins are available as isolates and hydrolysates, with more than 80% protein content on dry matter. These ingredients are available in conventional and organic versions.
Our rice protein ingredients have a neutral taste, are sourced in Europe, are kosher- and halal-certified, guaranteed GMO-free and non-allergenic. Rice proteins are prized for their amino acid profile that is quite similar to that of milk. Rice protein is a fine, creamy-white powder with a light cereal-like taste and smell. They are intended for high-protein sports nutrition products, for weight control and for infant foods.
Our featured ingredients: more information can be found here.
2. Pea proteins
Elementa also offers pea protein isolates and hydrolysates. They contain more than 80% protein on dry matter and organic-certified versions are available. Our pea proteins are of European origin, kosher– and halal-certified and have a nicely balanced amino acid profile. They are guaranteed GMO-free and non-allergenic.
Pea proteins are fine beige powders with a neutral, plant-like smell and taste. Known for its interesting technological properties, it is used in many formulations.
3. Pumpkin seed proteins
Pumpkin seed proteins are available as a raw protein concentrate with 60% protein content on dry matter. They are organic-certified. Sourced from pumpkins grown in Europe, the protein concentrates are manufactured in Europe as well.
This ingredient is certified GMO-free and gluten-free. Pumpkin protein is available as a fine or standard powder with a light green colour, a vegetable odour and a roasted taste. They have a complete amino acid profile, are rich in minerals (zinc, phosphorus and magnesium) and are ideal for sports nutrition products and dietetic products.
4. Fava bean proteins
Elementa has Faba bean protein concentrate with 60% protein on dry matter, available in organic certification. Certified GMO-free, gluten-free and non-allergenic, faba bean protein is of European origin.
The faba bean proteins are as a fine cream-coloured powder with a neutral smell and taste. Its nutritional properties are interesting for its Lysine and fiber content.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Proteins play an important structural role in the human body. They participate in the renewal of muscle tissue, hair, nails, skin and the bone matrix. As the main component of digestive enzymes, haemoglobin, hormones, receptors or immunoglobulins, they are involved in various physiological processes (ANSES, 2019).
Plant-based proteins are a source of essential nutrients. They contain useful compounds, such as minerals (iron, zinc, magnesium), fibre, fatty acids (omega-3 and -9) and vitamins.
Plant-based proteins have nutritional properties that are perfectly adapted for vegans and vegetarians, as well as those who are lactose- or gluten-intolerant. They represent an ideal alternative to animal proteins.
Advantageous nutritional properties
Plant-based proteins can cover the daily requirements for protein and also essential amino acids. Lysine, isoleucine, leucine, valine, cysteine, methionine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan are the nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot synthesize in sufficient quantities. They must be supplied by the diet to meet nutritional needs.
According to the protein source, content and quality, the amino acid composition and availability can vary. Elementa has selected different sources of plant-based proteins that have particular properties.
Cereal is known as a source of sulphur-containing essential amino acids (methionine and cystine) that participate in the synthesis of creatine. However, most have a low lysine content.
Rice proteins have an amino acid profile similar to that of milk, are rich in glutamine and arginine, they also have a non-negligible quantity of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA). BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine, and there are scientific reports that they are highly involved in muscle effort. Leucine appears to prevent muscle breakdown, and play a role in sterol synthesis. Glutamine supplies energy to cells and regulates the activity of the immune system. Arginine is involved in many metabolic processes, such as muscle contraction.
Pulses, pea and fava bean proteins, are the seeds of plants in the legume family. They are a source of lysine and have very limited levels of sulphur-containing amino acids.
Pea proteins have a balanced amino acid profile, rich in leucine and arginine, which both participate in muscle contraction. They have low trypsin inhibitor activity (trypsin inhibitors are ant nutritional factors). It has a good digestibility (close to 96%).
In addition, fava bean proteins are a source of tyrosine, which is a precursor of melanin, dopamine, noradrenaline and thyroid hormones.
Proteins derived from oilseeds, including pumpkin seed, sunflower seed and hemp proteins, have a balanced essential amino acid profile, and are a source of minerals and vitamins.
Pumpkin protein is particularly complete. It has a high quantity of BCAAs and arginine and histidine, also high in iron.
The various sources of plant-based proteins have different protein contents and nutritional qualities and can be used complementarily. The pairing of cereals with pulses is a well-known combination used to compensate for the low lysine content of cereals.
In our range of plant-based proteins, it can be advantageous to combine proteins from different sources, e.g. rice protein isolates with pea protein isolates. Many combinations are possible.
The scientific literature details the various benefits that plant-based proteins offer, with many studies demonstrating the specific positive effects of plant proteins. Plant-based proteins appear to have many benefits, particularly on health: enhanced sleep, cardiovascular health, weight control and immune system.
Muscle maintenance and growth
Essential amino acids derived from plant-based proteins help promote muscle maintenance and growth. BCAAs are essential amino acids that are broken down in skeletal muscles (see, for review, Shimonura et al. 2006). Supplementation with these BCAAs, before or after exercise, may help increase muscle mass and limit the breakdown of muscle proteins due to their anti-catabolic properties.
Additionally, one study showed that proteins help favour the maintenance of muscle mass with age, particularly when plant-based protein-rich diets are consumed (Gorissen et al. 2018). Another study noted that the synthesis of muscle proteins depends on the quantity of leucine (a BCAA) available (Norton et al. 2010).
Maintenance of bone mass and strength
The type and quantity of proteins consumed in the diet have a significant impact on bone mass and strength. Researchers at the Department of Physiology at the University of Grenada showed the benefits of a protein-based diet for bone health (Nebot et al. 2104). A high-protein diet appears to improve bone properties in rats. Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2008, indicates that diets high in protein may help enhance bone mass and decrease the number of fractures when calcium intake is sufficient. Moreover, the study underlines the important role proteins play in bone health, for the prevention of osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Effect on satiety
Satiety is the absence of hunger between meals, a feeling that is generally increased after consumption of a high-protein meal. A study conducted by INSERM Lyon in 2012 accurately describes the double-loop chain reactions triggered by the digestion of proteins, and how it involves the nervous system. First, the presence of oligopeptides, derived from protein digestion, affects nervous system receptors, which send a signal to the brain, which in turn triggers glucose synthesis in the intestine. The increase in glucose concentration in the intestine sends a signal to the brain — specifically the hypothalamus — which controls food intake and feeling satiated (full).
Proteins are generally used in high-protein diets for weight loss, and their effects on feeling full have been proven. A study showed that intake of plant-based (bean and pea) proteins favourably influences appetite relative to animal proteins (pork and veal) at equivalent caloric and protein amounts (Marlene et al. 2016).
In parallel, dietary protein contributes helps fight against obesity and metabolic syndrome, it is involved in satiety and energy metabolism (Westerterp et al. 2012)
ANSES – French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, Proteins [on line], https://www.anses.fr/en/content/proteins (consulted on 21 November 2019).
Gorissen, S., &Witard, O. Characterising the muscle anabolic potential of dairy, meat and plant-based protein sources in older adults. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 77(1), 20-31.
CREVIEU-GABRIEL, Digestion des protéines végétales chez les monogastriques. Exemple des protéines de pois, INRA Prod. Anim., 1999, 12 (2), 147-161 I.
INSERM, L’effet « coupe-faim » des protéines élucidé [en ligne].https://presse.inserm.fr/leffet-coupe-faim-des-proteines-elucide/1219/ (consulté le 10.11.2019)
Marlene D. Kristensen, Nathalie T. Bendsen, Sheena M. Christensen, Arne Astrup& Anne Raben Meals based on vegetable protein sources (beans and peas) are more satiating than meals based on animal protein sources (veal and pork) – a randomized cross-over meal test study, Food & Nutrition research (2016)
Nebot E, Erben RG, Porres JM, Femia P, Camiletti-Moirón D, Aranda P, López-Jurado M, Aparicio VA. Effects of the amount and source of dietary protein on bone status in rats. Food Funct. (2014)
Norton, L.E., Wilson, G.J., Layman, D.K. et al. Leucine content of dietary proteins is a determinant of postprandial skeletal muscle protein synthesis in adult rats. NutrMetab (Lond) 9, 67 (2012)
Robert P Heaney, Donald K Layman, Amount and type of protein influences bone health, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, , Pages 1567S–1570S (2008)
Shimomura Y1, Yamamoto Y, Bajotto G, Sato J, Murakami T, Shimomura N, Kobayashi H, Mawatari K., Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle. . J Nutr. (2006)
Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lemmens SG, Westerterp KR. Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health. Br J Nutr. (2012)
Dietary plant-based proteins are found in significant quantities in cereals, pulses, oilseeds, grains and algae.
Elementa’s range of proteins are food ingredients with high protein concentrations
On a regulatory level, the Codex Alimentarius defines these ingredients as “vegetable protein products” (VPP). VPPs are « food products produced by the reduction or removal from vegetable materials of certain of the major non-protein constituents (water, oil, starch, other carbohydrates) in a manner to achieve a protein (N x 6.25) content of 40% or more. The protein content is calculated on a dry weight basis excluding added vitamins, minerals.” (Codex Alimentarius 1989).
The Codex Alimentarius FAO/WHO oversees international food standards, guidelines and codes of practice. According to the general standard, protein content must be equal to or greater than 40% (on a dry weight basis) for a food products to be called VPP. (General Standard for Vegetable Protein Products (VPP) Codex Standard 174-1989. Adopted in 1989. Amended in 2019.)
Moreover, the Codex Alimentarius presents the general guidelines for the use of VPP in food (General Guidelines for the Utilization of Vegetable Protein Products (VPP) in Foods CAC/GL 4-1989) that defines the conditions for using the term VPP, labelling rules and use in food intended for human consumption.
Technological Properties and Formulation
Plant-based proteins are ingredients that can be incorporated in formulas as nutritional ingredients for protein supplementation. Various manufacturing processes can increase the protein concentration relative to the raw product. They also help improve the technological properties of proteins (e.g. their solubility), as well as decrease any potential antinutritional inhibitors, thereby enhancing protein digestibility.
Proteins can also be used as functional ingredients. According to their source, plant-based proteins have very useful functional properties for product formulation. They are used for their emulsifying, jellifying and thickening properties, for their capacity to retain water and their filmogenic properties (AFFSA, 2007).
Our range of products includes various types of plant-based proteins adapted to your formulation needs:
The rice and pea protein isolates in our product range are derived by extracting starch using a wet milling process, followed by separation, concentration and drying processes.
The most common process for isolating proteins is simple milling (giving a simple powder) or milling defatted powder.
Proteins can be extracted using acid precipitation or ultra-filtration, leading to the separation of protein concentrates from carbohydrates and insoluble coproducts. After concentration and drying, this process produces a powder with a high protein content, up to 95% proteins (dry matter).
Isolates are ideal for a multitude of formulations, for sports nutrition, special diets or infant foods. These isolates are used for elaborating recipes for health-food products such as protein bars and meal substitutes.
Pea and rice hydrolysates are obtained from protein hydrolysis. This process is carried out on a protein concentrates or protein isolates. The hydrolysis of the physical bonds between amino acids is carried out with selected enzymes, resulting in a product with 85-95% proteins in peptide form and free amino acids. This technique confers high digestibility and solubility to the proteins, facilitating the absorption of amino acids by the body as well as the formulation of liquid products. They are ideal for the preparation of beverages.
Owing to their nutritional properties, rice protein hydrolysates are mainly used in infant foods.
Our hydrolysed cereals are also manufactured by hydrolysis. Rice flour hydrolysates are derived from the partial hydrolysis of rice flour using the alpha-amylase enzyme. For oats, the starch contained in this cereal is hydrolysed also using alpha-amylase. Hydrolysed cereals are generally easily assimilated and well adapted to plant-based beverages and infant foods.
Flours, powders and concentrates
Plant-based protein concentrates are processed differently according to their source and the starch content of the cereal grain. Most of our protein concentrates are obtained using a mechanical separation procedure that separates the starch (large particles) from proteins (small particles). There is no chemical extraction and no solvents are used.
Pumpkin seed, hemp, sunflower seed and quinoa protein concentrates are ideal for the formulation of protein bars and sports nutrition products. They can be particularly useful for plant-based protein powder mixes for use as toppings, for smoothie-type beverages, as well as for bread-like preparations, meals for special diets, spreads or dips.
Source: AFFSA, Apport en protéines : consommation, qualité, besoins et recommandations. 2007
Nutrition and Health Claims
Several health claims can be used for proteins:
- “Protein contributes to the increase in muscle mass”;
- “Protein contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass”;
- “Protein contributes to the maintenance of normal bones”.
Regulation No 432/2012 on health claims stipulates that “The claim may be used only for food which is at least a source of protein as referred to in the claim SOURCE OF PROTEINS as listed in the Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006”.
A food is called
- “High in protein” if at least 20% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein;
- “Source of protein” if at least 12% of the energy value of the food is provided by protein.