Latest Innovation in Pea Protein Industry

According to a research report Pea Protein Market by Type (Isolates, Concentrates and Textured), Application (Food, Beverages), Form (Dry, Wet), Source (Chickpeas, Yellow Split Peas, Lentils), Processing Method (Dry, Wet) and Region – Global Forecast to 2029″ published by MarketsandMarkets, the pea protein market is estimated at USD 2.1 billion in 2024 and is projected to reach USD 3.7 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 12.0% from 2024 to 2029. Pea protein’s rise in popularity is attributed to its exceptional nutritional profile, rich in essential amino acids like lysine, often lacking in other plant-based sources. Its allergen-free nature, excluding soy and dairy, caters to individuals with dietary restrictions. Furthermore, heightened awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture drives the search for sustainable protein sources. Pea protein production consumes fewer resources and emits fewer greenhouse gases than animal-based proteins, aligning with eco-conscious consumer preferences. The versatility of pea protein appeals to food manufacturers, seamlessly integrating into various products like plant-based meats, dairy alternatives, snacks, and supplements, without compromising taste or texture.

The Europe region accounted for the largest share in 2024 in terms of value.

Europe’s overall economic stability plays a significant role in determining the trajectory of the pea protein market. As the region experiences economic fluctuations, consumer spending patterns may be affected, influencing the demand for products incorporating pea protein. The interplay between disposable income and consumer preferences holds the potential to sway the market dynamics. Europe’s growing emphasis on health and wellness transcends individual consumer choices to impact market dynamics. The preference for plant-based and clean-label products aligns seamlessly with the properties of pea protein. The market, therefore, responds to the evolving health-conscious mindset prevalent in the region, driving manufacturers to incorporate pea protein in a diverse range of products.

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Market Opportunities: Increasing focus on innovation and developments of better pea protein extracts & products in global markets

With evolving lifestyles and growing consumer demand for diverse options, the pea protein sector is experiencing a surge in innovation. Currently, pea protein serves as a primary ingredient in numerous plant-based meat products, including energy bars and snacks. Food technology companies are diligently refining this ingredient at every stage of production to cater to plant-based meat manufacturers, ranging from optimizing pea cultivation in the field to refining protein extraction technology.

Many consumers prioritize maximum protein content when selecting products, prompting companies to strive for higher protein extraction rates from raw materials to incorporate into their end products. In October 2021, Benson Hill, a company based in Missouri, launched a new yellow pea breeding and commercialization program aimed at developing plants that yield superior peas. Their focus lies on enhancing two critical attributes: nutritional density and flavor. The cultivation of more protein-rich yellow pea plants could also lead to greater efficiency in land use in farming practices. Benson Hill leverages a machine learning and AI-powered platform to guide its efforts in crop improvement.

On 2022, merit Functional Foods (Canada) opened a 94,000 square foot plant to process pea and canola protein. The company uses a proprietary manufacturing process that is more expensive than the industry standard. The process requires more equipment and more filtration but results in a higher-purity product with improved taste and texture. According to StartUs Insights (an AI-powered data platform), in September 2021, 149 new startups were identified in the pea protein sector, with the top five being Sunfed Food (New Zealand) (makes meat alternatives), Mighty Pea (UK) (formulates vegan milk), Elevate Nutrition (US) (offers sports nutrition), YoFiit (Canada) (offers plant-based nutrition bars), and PeaTos (US) (produces pea-based snacks). Thus, with a greater number of startups rising in the sector, significant research is being taken up to develop newer attractive products in the market.

By type, isolates accounted for the largest share in 2024 in terms of value in the pea protein market.

Pea protein isolate has a neutral flavor and smooth texture, making it easy to incorporate into a wide variety of food and beverage products without significantly altering taste or texture. This versatility allows manufacturers to create protein-rich products across various categories, including beverages, snacks, baked goods, and more. Also, pea protein isolate is naturally free from common allergens such as soy, dairy, and gluten, making it suitable for individuals with food sensitivities or allergies. This broadens its appeal and accessibility to a wider consumer base. These factors drive the demand for isolated pea protein as a sought-after ingredient in the food and beverage industry.

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By applications, the bakery products in the food sub-segment are estimated to grow at a higher rate in the pea protein market.

Pea protein contributes to the structural integrity and texture of bakery products, enhancing their overall quality. It can improve dough elasticity, moisture retention, and crumb softness, resulting in baked goods with superior mouthfeel and shelf life. This functionality aligns with manufacturers’ goals of producing bakery items with desirable sensory attributes. The incorporation of pea protein allows bakery manufacturers to innovate and diversify their product portfolios. By introducing pea protein-enriched bakery items, companies can differentiate themselves in the market, catering to evolving consumer preferences and capturing market share in the burgeoning protein-enriched bakery segment.

Primary companies highlighted

  • Roquette Frères (France)
  • Cargill, Incorporated (US)
  • Glanbia PLC (Ireland)
  • Kerry (Ireland)
  • Ingredion Incorporated (US)
  • Emsland Group (Germany)
  • Yantai Shuangta Foods Co, Ltd (China)
  • The Scoular Company (US)