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3 reasons why Lentein is the latest innovation in the food and beverage industry
Lentein is a protein-rich green powder produced by Parabel. It is a “whole food concept” that has been described as the world’s most complete and sustainable food source. With up to 50% of highly digestible crude protein, as well as a high profile of micronutrients such as Omega 3 and antioxidants, it has gained significant interest as a nutritional supplement. Parabel recently won the FIE Innovations Award in the Growth Category for the development of this exciting new product. Here are three reasons why Lentein is such an innovative product for the food and beverage industry.
Reason #1: High Nutritional Value
On the micronutrient scale:
As minimally-processed plant protein sources go, Lentein is rich. It contains up to 50% crude protein. To give some context, other plant sources such as peanuts contain up to 28% protein and soybeans contain 13%. Lentein has a protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) score of 93. PDCAAS is an FDA/WHO/FAO-recognized measure of protein quality for humans. Let’s compare with some other plant sources; peanuts have a score of 52, soybeans have a score of 72 and pea protein isolate of 89. Unsurprisingly, the green powder has gained a lot of interest as a dietary supplement and meal replacement.
On the macronutrient scale:
Beyond the macronutrient profile, Lentein is packed with value-added ingredients at the micronutrient scale as well. It is a rich source of essential amino acids, as well as antioxidants, carotenoids and chlorophyll. This makes it a pretty holistic source of vital nutrients, something that is of paramount importance in an age where the population is exhausting feedstocks. Lentein contains over 5g/100g of leucine, phenylalanine + tyrosine, lysine and valine. In addition to the role of these essential amino acids in general health, there is increasing research into their use as medical foods. Amino acids are precursors to a number of molecules involved in neurological signalling: glutamate, aspartate and cysteine for neurotransmitters, as well as the aromatic amino acids as precursors for dopamine and serotonin. This, combined with the high levels of antioxidants, such as vitamin A, polyphenols and lutein, could make Lentein an interesting candidate as a medical food for neurological disorders. As a side note, Lentein is a very rich source of lutein with 687 mg/kg. Why is lutein of interest? Lutein is one of very few carotenoids that are actively assimilated in the human body. High concentrations of lutein are found in the human eye. It is thought to protect against the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), but has also been linked to protection against other neurodegenerative diseases. There is a growing body of research into the effects of lutein supplementation on potential prevention of such diseases. Coming back from a couple of tangents there, the point is, Lentein has a high nutritional value. Not only in protein, but in terms of micronutrients as well.
Reason #2: Rapid & Sustainable Production
One of the key attractions of Lentein is its rapid and sustainable production. Lentein is produced from the world’s smallest flowering plant called water lentil or duckweed. The plant which grows on top of still water, doubles in size every 16-32 hours. Therefore, it can be harvested everyday. Parabel has developed a patented hydroponic system to grow, process and commercialize the plant. The process has been designed with yield and sustainability in mind; it has been optimized for maximum yield, consistent, year-round harvest, and 98% of the water used to produce Lentein is recycled. The process is streamlined to avoid chemical extractions or harsh processing conditions. This means the nutrients remain in an active state, and provide more benefit to the consumer unlike high protein sources, such as whey, which is highly processed to concentrate the protein and strip out the lactose. Parabel is in the process of expanding their current production capacity by constructing a 600-acre aquafarm, further to their existing $10 million, 100-acre farm. The new aquafarm is expected to produce up to 3,500 tons of water lentils per year.
Reason #3: Labelling
Lentein is about as clean label as ingredients come. Let’s run down the list:
In addition, Lentein can be consumed by vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerants, gluten intolerants and everyone in between.
Great, and is Lentein commercially available?
It sure is! Lentein™ Compete, the brilliant green powder, is available from Parabel. In August 2017, Clean Machine also launched a protein mix formulated with Lentein, as well as PURISPea™ and ProHydrolase. It is marketed for the fitness industry as a “superfood protein powder” and dietary supplement. It has GRAS status in the USA and has already been formulated in crackers, snack mixes, chips, nutrition bars and beverages.
Rachel is one of PreScouter's Project Architects. She specializes in the food & beverage industry. She completed her PhD in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge. Her research was focused around Photobiology, with research themes including the development of fluorescent proteins for biomedical imaging applications and the formulation of lutein as a nutritional supplement. Prior to her PhD, Rachel completed a Bachelor (Honours) Degree in Biochemistry at the University of East Anglia.
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