Trending – Potato Protein
In our last post, we looked at soybean proteins used in artificial meats. However, there are more than one or two vegetable-based proteins used to create synthetic meat products. In this post, we take a look at potato protein.
What is potato protein?
While whole potatoes are not typically noted for their protein-rich properties, like other vegetable proteins on the market, such as pea protein isolate and soybean proteins, potatoes can offer us a powerful protein punch.
Potatoes come in many varieties, and we value different potatoes for their unique qualities. Potatoes typically used to make potato protein are called starch potatoes. Starch potatoes provide the ideal characteristics needed to produce the liquid required to make potato protein (1).
How do manufacturers make potato protein?
After removing potato starch, manufacturers are left with what’s called potato fruit juice (PFJ), a liquid (1).
Then the PFJ is dried using one of a few drying methods such as spray drying at specific temperatures, vacuum freeze drying, fluid-bed drying, atmospherically freeze-drying, or another process (1,2).
The drying process will produce a product, sometimes a powder and manufacturers will use it in products.
If the potato protein powder isn’t the right consistency for human foods, manufacturers can often use it in livestock feeds.
Is potato protein healthy?
Potato protein contains many essential amino acids we need to thrive. It has a high biological value and high protein digestibility corrected amino acid score, meaning we can absorb and use much of the protein and amino acids (1).
Our ability to absorb the protein from the potato protein is in the same range as high-end animal proteins (1).
Preliminary research suggests that potato protein can even help build and maintain muscle mass (1).
Where can I find it?
You will find this ingredient in many gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan dishes, such as gluten-free baked goods and vegan egg white substitutes, as well as alternative meats and even protein shakes.
It’s also added to livestock feeds to boost protein content.
What makes it different than other vegetable proteins?
Some potato proteins have foaming properties that make them a potential replacement for egg white. Manufacturers can also use them as an emulsifier in products like salad dressings (1).
Potato proteins may have gelatin properties that could be used to replace animal-based gelatins. However, more research is needed before it will replace gelatins (1).
Is it safe?
Potato allergies are uncommon and potato protein shows the lowest allergenicity incidences of both vegetable and animal proteins (1). However, if you have a potato allergy, you should not consume potato protein as the allergen is still present.
Potato protein is considered a GRAS ingredient by the FDA and is safe for regular consumption (1).
What else should I know?
While it’s still a niche market, you should be mindful of potato proteins sold as dietary supplements. Many supplements such as protein powder sold online or from indie brands are not regulated or tested for purity standards, meaning you may not receive the advertised product (1).
The U.S. FDA cannot recall an adulterated product if they are not informed about the issue, so if you are purchasing potato protein powders, make sure it is from a reputable company or seller (1).
The good news.
In the case of the potato, we’ve found a way to use a staple ingredient in an innovative way that adds another valuable plant-based protein source to the many alternative foods we’re creating.