Trouble Shooting Tips for Formulating Plant-Based Protein Beverages

The growing desire of mainstream consumers’ focus on leading a more healthful lifestyle is driving today’s trend for protein beverages.

However, formulating protein beverages to take advantage of this trend, can be a bit of a challenge.  Here are eight tips from Dealers Ingredients Product Development team, creators of Profi, the award-winning* plant-based protein, to help get you started when creating your own-plant-based instant beverage mix concepts.

  • Are you planning to make a protein claim with your plant-based protein beverage? If yes, then, you need to calculate your protein rating which is determined by the PER (Protein Efficiency Ratio) x RDI (ie. quantity of protein in a reasonable daily intake). For example, if the protein(s) selected has a protein rating of 20 g or more you can then make a claim of “excellent source of protein” in Canada.
  • It is important to use some type of thickening agent such as guar gum to provide mouthfeel and to suspend the proteins when mixed in liquids.
  • In general, there is an expectation that protein powder beverages will taste sweet. Sugar can be used. However, scoop size would be very large and many consumers are not in favour of sugar. To reduce the sugar content, alternative, approved sweeteners are recommended. For example, in Canada sucralose is 600x as sweet as sugar, stevia extract is approx. 200x as sweet and aspartame is 160x as sweet as sugar.
  • As sweeteners tend to be used in small quantities, it is important to pre-blend them with the other dry ingredients prior to mixing them into the full batch.
  • Flavours 
    • If creating a chocolate protein beverage, it is important to test a wide range of chocolate or cocoa powders to obtain the right range of characteristics. Colour, taste and bitterness all have a significant impact on consumer perception of the final product.
    • If creating a vanilla protein beverage, it is important to test a wide range of vanilla flavours as they vary from woody, to fruity, to floral, to spicy and there are a wide range of strengths.
  • Salt is quite important especially when developing a chocolate flavoured beverage. Chocolate beverages without saltiness will not taste like chocolate. Sodium content is an area consumers are paying a lot of attention to and it is important to target not to be less than 400mg per serving. Akzo Nobel’s OneGrain can help replace salt on a 1 to 1 basis, with sodium being reduced by up to 50%.
  • Always test the dry mix using a variety of mixing options (ie. shaker, spoon, blender, etc.) as a variety of mixing options will provide different results in terms of viscosity, foaming and the solubility of the mixture.
  • Internal competitive taste test analysis that focus on flavour identification, strength of sweetness, mouthfeel and cleanliness will provide an ideal measurement of consumer acceptance of the product.

Do you have additional questions on how to work with plant-based proteins such as Profi™ Complete High Protein Plant-Based Proteins*, Natralein™ Pea or Brown Rice Proteins or Akzo Nobel OneGrain Salt Replacer?

Contact your Dealers Ingredients Sales Consultant or 905 458 7766 or for additional support and requests for samples.

*Profi, Complete High Protein Plant-Based Composite (HPPC), winner of 2016 DUX Ingredients and Technology award and 2x Finalist in 2016 CTAQ Food Innovation Award, Specialty Products Category.

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