A report from the growth-consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has found that a recent surge in demand for plant protein is set to evolve the global production and trade flow of whole yellow pea in the United States, Western Europe and China. While the market for whole peas is predicted to hold steady at 2 to 4% annual growth, the dry pea protein ingredient market is projected to grow at a rate of 10% per year.
Whole yellow peas contain over 85% protein and are rich in vital muscle-building ingredients compared to other vegetables. Although traditionally used for direct consumption, animal feed ingredients and starch, yellow peas are increasingly being produced to create dry pea protein, a natural supplement made by extracting the soluble pea protein from yellow split peas.
There are several major drivers for the pea protein market, including a rise in vegetarian consumers, growing demand for affordable and sustainable vegetarian protein powders, and advances in extraction technology. The Asia-Pacific is expected to see considerable growth, primarily due to the burgeoning animal feed industry in India and China.
With an average single digit growth in terms of volume over the last couple of years, the pea protein market is poised to witness a greater demand over the next decade. By 2019, the market is project to be valued at over $32 million.
Image caption: Whole yellow peas
Image credit: Gavin Firkser / Flickr
When compared to other plant-based proteins in the cropping system, pea protein production stands out as being environmentally friendly. This is because peas belong to a category of nitrogen-fixing crops, which return nitrogen to the soil, reduces the need for fertilizer and helps counteract the potentially extractive nature of monocropping. Another advantage of pea protein is that it is not derived from one of the commonly allergenic foods such as milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts or soybeans.
However, production of the whole yellow pea can vary greatly depending on the weather, planting times, forecast price and performance of other commodity products. This means that soaring demand could put pressure on the supply chain and disrupt import-export balances in North America and China - the key producers and consumers of the crop respectively. Can such upheavals be planned for? If so, the emergence of pea protein will significantly enhance the growth prospects of pea processors and food manufacturers in these two countries.
As a relatively new product, compared to 60-years of innovation in the soy protein market, there are extensive opportunities for production growth of pea protein. Could pea protein become an alternative to soy (pea milk, anyone?), and match the latter’s multi-functionality? As production can be considerably affected by the weather, will producers be able to cope with the rise in demand?
PR Newswire (2015, July 15) Pea Protein Ingredients Alter Production Dynamics as Global Demand Escalates
Today (2015, March 23) Pea protein: Is it the new soy?
Food Navigator USA (2015, July 29) Control of breeding process set its pea protein apart, says World Food Processing