Nutrition Meets Food Science

Beyond By-product: Everything you need to know about Rice-Bran Protein

Rice Grains Isolated on White Background

It is easy to imagine that protein-rich plant-based packed foods have existed in the market since the beginning of packaged food era, but the truth is, in spite of researchers and environmentalists iterating- how the majority of Indian population is protein-deficient and animal-based food products are not the best option for the environment- for more than a decade, food companies for the longest time didn’t feel the need to pay attention to these aspects. But now, as the awareness among people about these issues is increasing, the number of products that cater to such consumer-base is also increasing in the market. With plant-based food products proliferating, the market is becoming competitive.And thisis in turn, ispushingfood companies to come up with new, creative ideas to market and sell their product.

Just a few days ago, we saw a lot of food companiesparticipating inthe online ‘rasodemeinkauntha?’ meme fest;some changed their twitter handle names and othersmade their own puns and memes on this viral joke. While this may help a food company to gain more followers and develop a good social media presence, it doesn’t mean that all their followers will convert into their customers. To stand out in the market, you, as a food manufacturer, would need to convince a consumer that your product is actuallymaking a change.

And if you are a food formulator who is looking for a nutritiously novel, plant-based ingredient to make your product stand out in the market, we would suggest you to explore the potential of rice bran protein. Here’s why.

Affordable

As a food manufacturer, you can develop the best, high-quality, nutritious product for the market but if it is out of consumers’ budget range, all your hard-work will just be decorating supermarket shelves. If you want your product to make a place in the consumers’ diet, you need to make the product financially accessible to people.  And rice bran protein can just be the ingredient that helps you to achieve your affordability goals. It is a plant-based protein that is derived from rice bran, a cheap agriculture by-product in the rice industry. With its nutrient profile, it can make for a relatively inexpensive source of protein into food products.

Yogurt oat granola with jam, blueberries and green leaves in glass jar on pastel mint backdrop, copy space

Sustainable & Allergen-free

Consumers, nowadays, are looking for food products that are not only good for human health but the environment too. People want to eat but guilt-free. And this has made a lot of them switch to vegan diets. While a lot of other food formulators are going with soy protein, rice-bran protein may be the ingredient for you. Aside from being a plant-based ingredient, it is also hypo-allergenic. With rice bran protein incorporated in the product formulation, it can help you to target a wide range of consumers- from people allergic to ingredients like soya, peanuts to those who want to eat only plant-based foods because of environmental concerns.

Nutritious & Novel

Bran is used for production of rice bran oil and after the oil is removed from it, it can be used to extract protein. Earlier rice bran used to be of poor quality and could only be used for animal feed. But now that bran oil is a valuable byproduct,the bran that is recovered is of good quality and it is stored properly so that oil in it does not degrade. This high quality bran has good quality protein. Also, rice bran protein is reported to be superior to other proteins on its anti-cancer activity.Hence it may be incorporated into value-added functional food products like sports or energy drinks. Also, since rice bran protein has low bulk density and an amino profile suitable to meet the protein requirements of 2-5 years olds, it can make a perfect protein ingredient for weaning and infant foods.

Good Mouthfeel

Close your eyes and picture your favourite food. Now think about the qualities that make it your favourite. We bet one of the first things that come to your mind is its taste. Nutrition is an important factor in a food item but the main reason why most of the consumers become loyal to any food product is that it tastes good and has a rich mouth feel.

Two of the main factors that influence the taste and texture of the final product, among others, are an ingredient’s water absorption capacity and oil absorption ability. The high water absorption of an ingredient helps to reduce moisture loss (especially in packed bakery goods) and maintain the freshness of food products, and the high oil absorption capacity helps to get the desired texture and good mouth feel.Since rice bran protein concentrates have a good water absorption capacity and oil-absorbing capacity better than casein and soy protein isolates, they can be used in viscous foods such as soups and gravies, and fat-molecules retention requiring food products like sausages, cake batters, mayonnaise, and salad dressings.

Above all practical reasons, rice bran protein is an under-valued ingredient in the food industry, just like the best friend of the hero in all Indian movies, and it deserves to star as a main protein ingredient in the food products. So if you want to help rice bran protein get a fair chance in the food industry, feel free to share the CV, made by rice bran protein, given below, within your food-friend circle to spread the information.

 

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Ms Seles Gupta
Food Technologist,
PFNDAI
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