Consumers have become more health-conscious in recent years. As a result, protein substitutes are becoming more common on grocery store shelves and in diets. As with many other food products, it is essential to measure the colors of protein substitutes. The color of protein substitutes appeals to the senses and indicates quality. A spectrophotometer can conduct a protein analysis in food to ensure the correct color and consistency between batches.

What Is Alternative Protein?

Alternative protein is protein that is plant-based or created from food technology rather than animal products. The alternative protein industry is growing at a fast pace due to a wide variety of factors, including:

  • Innovations in food technology that have created more protein production opportunities.
  • A desire among consumers for more protein options besides meat.
  • Increased consumer interest in healthy choices.
  • The cost-effectiveness of alternative protein.
  • The ethical considerations of meat consumption.

Types of Protein Substitutes

Alternative protein trends are fast-growing, with many options available. Some of the most common sources of protein substitutes include:

  • Plants: Crop extracts and whole plants like seeds, nuts, grains, peas, pulses, chickpeas and legumes
  • Insects: Protein from insects like crickets, black soldier flies and mealworms
  • Algae: Protein biomass from producing and harvesting macro-algae and micro-algae
  • Mycoprotein: Whole, filamentous and unprocessed fungal biomass, like mold
  • Fermented proteins: Proteins created from yeast organisms, like whey and casein
  • Cultured meat: Protein from tissue-culture technology to get the same protein profile as animal muscles
  • Processed soy products: Soybean meat alternatives like tofu and tempeh
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The Importance of Color in Protein Substitutes

Alternative proteins will have a natural color based on their source, and food manufacturers may include color additives to make this color more consistent or visually appealing. Measuring the color of protein substitutes matters because it:

  • Enhances visual appeal: Customers will have an expectation of what their alternative protein should look like. Alternative protein that is the ideal color is more likely to be purchased and consumed.
  • Indicates freshness: Color is an indicator of freshness for many foods, and consumers apply the same expectations to protein substitutes.
  • Improves the manufacturing process: Testing the color of your alternative protein will establish a color standard. A spectrophotometer will test your samples against these standards to determine their color value. You can use this data to identify subpar products or ingredients to improve your manufacturing process.
  • Increases productivity: When your alternative protein color is more consistent, the quality control process is simpler. Manufacturing can move faster as a result.

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Contact HunterLab Today

With more than 65 years of experience, HunterLab is a leader in the color science field. We measure color and its appearance with a high degree of accuracy to mimic what the human eye sees. Our goal is to exceed your expectations by providing spectrophotometer solutions that precisely and accurately measure the color of your alternative protein. This information can help you reduce waste and create a better product.

For more information about why it’s important to measure the color of protein substitutes, contact us online.