Yeast as an alternate for Soy and Pea protein in China: 01-28-2020

China is the fastest and biggest growing economy in the world and along with it, the country is also becoming the largest consumer market. According to a recent report on global protein consumption, China is predicted to cover 50% of the total consumption of protein worldwide till 2025. However, current scenarios such as the spread of African swine fever, short supply of poultry in the country, the trend of flexitarianism and the environmental concerns has created new opportunities and approval for plant-based proteins. Many local and international enterprise is trying to encash these opportunities by offering new products and tastes for the customers. The most common ingredients employed for the manufacturing of plant-based protein are peas and soy, which are imported from other countries.

Recently, an Israeli startup FFW offered yeast as a viable alternative to soy and pea protein in the plant-based industry. While researching the meat analog market the founder of the company discovered that the industry is mostly dominated by two main ingredients soy and protein. However, he also noticed that soy, which is considered the king in the plant protein industry, has some health issues associated with it such as allergies and its uncontrolled farming have been associated with deforestation and biodiversity loss. Furthermore, the second main ingredient in the plant protein market is pea which requires greater processing, which drives up the price of the final product and makes it less available for the consumer.

Yeast, however, contains 50 % protein and all essential amino acids and is readily available in the market. Furthermore, it has a good absorption rate, is cost-effective and has a very strong umami flavor which can work best when used as a food additive. Though the company is still in the developing phase and has yet to market its finished product, the prospects seem quite bright as the prototype being developed is the imitation of chicken strips, which contain approximately 25 % protein.

Prospects of Yeast as Alternate in Chinese Plant-based Protein Industry:

Yeast industry belongs to the biological manufacturing industry, which is one of the seven strategic emerging industries in China. In recent years, China has become the region with the most rapid growth of yeast production capacity in the world, and in 2016 the production capacity reached 300,000tons. Therefore, if this ingredient is used as a substitute for soy or pea in the plant protein industry in China, it will not only reduce the production cost as it is readily available in the country but will also create new opportunities for the local yeast manufacturers.


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