Protein transition

Tendra: A building block for an active lifestyle

The demand for plant-based alternatives is increasing. This is also the case in active nutrition, the segment aimed at consumers with an active or sportive lifestyle. Common products include protein shakes based on whey protein extracted from dairy. These shakes mainly consist of protein powder, which means that the search for a plant-based alternative needs to focus on both taste and texture. Ricky van Beers, Technical Sales Specialist at Cosun Protein, sees Tendra as a gamechanger for plant-based active nutrition that scores well on both aspects. We talked to him about the opportunities for Cosun Protein’s fava bean protein.
16 April 2024

Ricky has seen an increasing number of consumers looking for plant-based alternatives to the standard whey protein for active nutrition. “Soy is a commonly used alternative because of its neutral taste, wide availability and low price. However, it’s generally not a local product. Its considerable CO2 footprint makes it less appealing for the environmentally conscious consumer. Moreover, soy is an allergen.” Peas are a more local source of protein, but are also not perfect. “Peas have a beany, slightly bitter flavour. Producers need to mask this by adding extra flavourings and sweeteners. The protein also results in a high viscosity, which soon makes the shakes too thick.

Flavour as the main priority

Ricky believes flavour and a pleasant texture are essential in plant-based protein shakes: “People are choosing active nutrition products because they’re becoming more active. They’re exercising more, changing their diet and organising their time differently. This requires a significant change in habits. A food supplement like a protein shake needs to be tasty. If the flavour of your product is an extra barrier, then you can forget the whole thing.”

Less is more

The plant-based protein used in Cosun Protein, Tendra is derived from the fava bean. Its neutral flavour and favourable texture properties offer the perfect opportunity. Ricky: “The protein isolate has already proven itself in complex applications such as in a plant-based alternative for yoghurt. To test its use in active nutrition, we developed our own shake.” Thanks to the favourable properties of Tendra, few ingredients are needed. “The recipe’s actually quite simple: it’s just a few ingredients that are simply mixed together: protein, fibre and flavouring.”

Top performance

For a fibre and flavour combination, Ricky and his team turned to sister company Sensus, which extracts inulin from chicory root. Adding inulin as a fibre to the shake not only makes it sweeter, but also makes you feel more full, and creates a more nutritious product. “During the development process, we worked with Sensus to find the inulin best suited to our purpose.”

The result is a plant-based protein shake with top results in both taste and texture. “We believe Tendra is a game-changer in the active nutrition market. But taste isn’t something theoretical;  you have to experience it.” Samples of the shake are currently being sent to suppliers and handed out at trade fairs. “Once they’ve tried it, they’re sold. I’m still waiting for the first negative reaction,” Ricky says with a smile.

A little push

In addition to protein shakes, Ricky’s looking into more possible applications for Tendra, for example in solid food. “We’re currently looking into protein-rich pancakes. The Tendra’s foamy properties would be perfect for this. Its versatility offers consumers that extra bit of variation in how they get their daily dose of protein. This is how our product can help make the transition to a plant-based diet and an active lifestyle easier.”

Ricky van Beers
A food supplement like a protein shake needs to be tasty. If the flavour of your product is an extra barrier, then you can forget the whole thing.”
Ricky van Beers
Technical Sales Specialist at Cosun Protein

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