You might want to consider stocking up on peas in your kitchen. No, this isn’t an article about how you should diet; this is about what you may be cooking up in your starch kitchen sometime soon.
The global demand for pea production is growing as the world continues to move toward bio-based proteins. Pea protein consumption increased 19% between 2016 and 2018. According to an October 2019 article from GlobeNewswire, the pea protein market is estimated to experience a 7.9% compound annual growth rate, from about $90 million in 2018 to $165 million in 2026.
Pea proteins show up in yogurt, snack bars, and the new Burger King Impossible Whopper because it is naturally lactose-free and a safe alternative for people with egg and dairy allergies. Additionally, pea-based proteins have superior flavor profiles over other legumes such as soy and can be found as a main ingredient in gluten-free foods.
The rising global demand for peas has caught the attention of Cargill, which invested $75 million in October 2019 in a joint venture with Puris, a leader in plant-based protein manufacturing.
Ingredion also announced its entrance into the pea protein market through its product Vitessence Pulse 1803 in March 2019. This is in addition to its $140 million investment in a new pea protein facility in South Sioux City, Neb., and a second investment into a joint venture with the Oscar-winning film director James Cameron and spouse Suzy Amis Cameron, along with PIC Investment Group. The new facility is scheduled to launch at the end of the second quarter of 2020, producing pea protein for food and treated pea starch specifically for corrugating.
Yellow peas, Lathyrus aphaca to be exact, are one of the few food-based crops about which it is undecided whether the primary objective is to extract starch or protein from the hull. In the United States and Canada, the protein is the head product, and the starches are considered a byproduct. In Asia, it is the converse; the protein is the byproduct, and the starches are considered the head product for use in noodles.
No matter how you split peas, protein production will develop equally with pea starch supplies. This could be a good thing for boxmakers. Right now, limited trials are being run on corrugators to evaluate adhesion tack speeds as well as other unique benefits.
The lead application specialist for Ingredion, Roman Skuratowicz, says, “Pea starch offers a lower gel temp (around 140 to 145 degrees) and could have some value-driven solutions in higher-speed corrugators.”
Skuratowicz continues: “Switching from pearl starch to pea starch isn’t as simple as it sounds. Adhesive formulations will need to be modified to adjust for the different natural gel temp, as well as the higher stringiness of pea starch pastes to generate consistent viscosities. Also, the higher particle size of pea starch could impact dry flow in conveyance systems.”
Rick Bird, operations manager at HarperLove, says, “I can see how pea starch could become a niche product in corrugated-board production, because it gives you the ability to run your corrugator at lower gel points. However, pea starch could build viscosity a little too fast due to the natural variations in pea starch uniformity.”
Running at a lower gel point gives the customer an option to increase efficiency in two different ways: (1) ability to run the corrugator faster, or (2) lowering the pressure on the steam system to conserve energy. Either way, when considering a switch over to pea starch, it is important to partner with a supplier who can understand technical formula adjustments for your specific production needs.
Ingredion also disclosed that with controlled treatment of their pea starch, they have been able to generate wet strength in corrugating adhesives without needing ketone/aldehyde-based resins, and this treatment also improves the viscosity consistency and dry flow properties that have hampered native pea starch.
With this new pea-based starch, corrugators will be able to reduce or eliminate chemical additives and still achieve moisture- and water-resistant adhesive performance—another game changer. Look for this product’s availability in the second quarter of 2020.