Rapeseed has the potential to become the leading source of plant protein

  • 28.03.2022
  • 12:09

To live a healthy and well-balanced life, protein is essential to incorporate in our diets. However, with a growing global population and natural resources becoming increasingly scarce, livestock farming can no longer be considered the only viable option for producing protein rich foods.

As a result, many plant-based alternatives have come about to support the inclusion of protein – from a sustainable source – in our diets. Some of the most famous alternatives include soy. This is no surprise, soy holds many nutritional benefits. However, rapeseed holds the potential to become the leading plant-based source of protein for human consumption. Rapeseed protein consumption has comparable beneficial effects on human metabolism as soy protein.

CEO, Magdalena Kozłowska

“With its growing popularity and NapiFeryn’s new technology, it can become a great alternative to soybean and a new best source of plant-based protein for tomorrow.”

When it comes to sustainable production, protein is one of the most  challenging macronutrients to harvest. This is why it takes a great deal of research and planning before attempts can be made to “farm” plant protein. At NapiFeryn BioTech, we decided to focus on rapeseed, as a valuable source of plant protein. Rapeseed oilseed production is the third largest in the world, following soybean and palm, and has increased 89% in the last decade in response to growing market demand for vegetable oils. The European Union is currently the largest rapeseed producer.

Focus on rapeseed

Our technology and the potential of, until recently, undervalued rapeseed has caught the eye of other researchers, industry thought leaders and innovators resulting in further studies.

Rapeseed press cake holds great potential as a multi-functional food ingredient. It aims to adopt clean processes such as fermentation, to upgrade the rapeseed press cake-derived protein and protein-fibre powders into functional food ingredients. This can be used in, for example, bakery goods – such as patisserie – and as meat substitutes in other food categories.

The focus on rapeseed means it might soon become a popular food-additive, alternative to omnipresent soy and a change towards a more sustainable food system. The demand for food will approximately double by 2050, due to the growing world population. This means that proactivity is needed to ensure that we are prepared for future trends when considering substituting common ingredients for more sustainable ones. More than X tons of rapeseed is harvested every year, this means that high volumes of rapeseed press cake is available to be ‘mined’ for its protein contents, as well as its potential to be a sustainable ingredient found in baked goods and other food products, such as yoghurt.  

As we can see, rapeseed offers a great range of versatility as a source of protein. With changes in our climate, as well as dietary needs, the type of protein sources we incorporate in our daily diets also have to adapt alongside these changes. Luckily, the rapeseed plant is regarded as a sustainable source of protein for our future dietary needs. The health benefits harvested from this plant are still being explored – with great enthusiasm – and with new innovative thinking about food sources, the possibilities of rapeseed becoming the leading source of plant protein is looking very promising. 

What have we been doing at NapiFeryn?

NapiFeryn Biotech has been involved in extensive research regarding the testing of new food formulations – centred around Raptein™-based formulations. For context, NFB developed a universal technology platform centred around its proprietary unit operation ALSEOS (Aqueous Low-Shear Extraction of Oil Seeds). The purpose of which is to recover native proteins from oilseeds under mild fractionation conditions, in this case – the main focus is rapeseed.

In this practice, the entire rapeseed protein content is recovered as two complementary protein products: protein isolate Raptein™90 and protein-fibre concentrate Raptein™30, both products showing excellent functional properties desired in the food applications. The rapeseed-derived protein products can be used as an alternative for animal- and/or soy-protein.

Moreover, the NFB technology allows also for valorisation of all major side streams generated in the technological process, which significantly improves economical parameters and attractiveness of the NFBs value proposition to potential customers from the oilseed processing industry.

We’ve conducted new plant-based protein tests behind the scenes! More on this coming soon!

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