How To Make a Protein Claim: Three Easy Steps

Plant-based proteins are one of the hottest food trends today. One of the first steps when creating plant-based protein products is to determine if a protein claim will be made on the packaging.

Protein claims on packaging such as “source of” or “high in protein” in Canada are based on a food’s protein rating and protein rating is determined from both the quality of the protein, as measured by the PDCAAS or PER score, and the quantity of the protein in the food product.

Protein Quality Determination is one of the most poorly understood areas of the Canadian and US food regulations. Some of the difficulty stems from the lack of good data to clarify the protein quality of food ingredients. The reason for the lack of data is the high cost and complexity of Protein Quality Analysis.

But there is no need to get discouraged. A simple three step process has been prepared to assist with determining the Protein Quality of any food product that has been enhanced in protein by the addition of a protein supplement. Let’s start with a quick explanation of PDCAAS and PER.

PDCAAS and PER are both recognized measurements for the quality of protein in food products. PDCAAS is determined based on a combination of the measured Protein Digestibility and the Amino Acid Composition of the food relative to requirements set out by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations University (UNU).

As per Canadian Food Regulations:  PER = PDCAAS x 2.5, where 2.5 is the PER of Casein.

Therefore, PER is a measurement of the relative quality of a protein in relation to the quality of Casein, the protein in milk.

In Canada, the Protein Rating of a food determines the allowance for protein quality claims.   If the protein rating is >20, this food would then qualify as a “Source of Protein”, or “High in Protein”.   The basic overall formula for the determination of Protein Rating is simple:

Protein Rating = PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio) X Quantity of Protein in a Reasonable Daily Intake (RDI) of that food (1)

So, how do you calculate this?

Step 1:  Determining the PER for a Food Product

Here is where the difficulty normally lies.   Health Canada has provided a list of PER values for about 50 foods.(2)   However, this list is rather short when considering all of the protein options available today.  It is possible to have your product tested for PER, but this is expensive, it takes time and depending on what you have used for your protein source, you may find notable variation from sample to sample.

However, vegan protein powders such as PROFI Pro™ and PROFI Bake™ produced by Dealers Ingredients can help out. Both of these options are easy to incorporate into most foods as they provide a neutral taste, blend well in both water and oil based systems and are GMO free, Gluten free, Kosher and Halal certified.  Also, PROFI Pro™ and PROFI Bake™ each have a PDCAAS value of 84% and a PER of 2.1.

Step 2: Determining the Quantity of Protein in the RDI

Below is the formula used for determining the quantity when the Protein in the food is all, or nearly all, coming from a Protein supplement or composite.

Quantity of Protein in RDI = RDI  X  % Protein Supplement used in the product  X  % Protein in the Protein Supplement

Step 3: Calculating the Protein Rating of Food Product

Below is an example of the calculation:

If 6.5% of PROFI Pro was added to a food product that has a Reasonable Daily Intake of 200g, and since PROFI Pro is 78% Protein with a PER of 2.1:

Protein Rating = PER X Quantity of Protein in one RDI of that food

= 2.1 X 200 g x 6.5% x 78%

= 2.1 X 10.14g

= 21.3 and this is >20.   So, you can make a “Source of Protein” or “High Protein” claim on your food package.

If you would like to learn more about the award-winning PROFI™, high protein plant-based composite (HPPC) and/or assistance in determining protein quality claims using PROFI Pro or PROFI Bake, please contact Dealers Ingredients at 905-458-7766, or


  2. (see Protein)
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