Plant-based boost for baked goods with faba bean

The increasing demand global interest in plant-based foods has extended to baked goods, creating a demand for suitable ingredients. Beneo’s faba bean concentrate shows promise as an egg substitute in muffin recipes, delivering comparable texture and taste. This innovation not only aligns with veganisation trends but also addresses cost reduction amid rising raw material prices.

Image : Shutterstock – BENEO Faba beans Gaston Cerliani

Over one in two consumers across the globe are now interested in plant-based foods and beverages (59%). As more consumers incorporate plant-based products into their diets, there is rising demand, not only for plant-based meat alternatives but also for plant-based baked goods. Finding suitable ingredients is key for manufacturers. Trials conducted by the BENEO-Technology Center found that by using BENEO’s faba bean protein concentrate it is possible to replace the eggs in a muffin recipe, whilst still delivering in terms of texture and taste.

Egg replacement: Opportunity and challenge

On the one hand, egg replacement enables manufacturers to ‘veganise’ recipes and – if all the product’s ingredients are plant-based – to make such claims on pack. On the other hand, replacing egg with faba bean protein concentrate is also a viable approach in the context of cost reduction. Over the last year, key raw materials have seen significant price increases, with food price predictions continuing throughout 2023. Consequently, food manufacturers are searching for more affordable ingredients that are in line with consumers’ expectations towards more natural, tasty, and plant-based solutions. 

It is always a challenge replacing eggs in any bakery reformulation, as they contribute to the adhesion, binding, aeration, browning and much more. With so much influence on the baked good’s final appearance and texture, finding a viable egg replacement is important. The BENEO-Technology Center team trialled faba bean protein concentrates as a possible egg replacer. The comparison of the reference muffins and their egg-free versions revealed that the muffins with faba bean protein concentrate were very close in volume and appearance to egg-containing originals. Furthermore, the plant-based muffins had a similar fine crumb structure, pleasant taste and crumb firmness comparable to that of the reference products even after two weeks of storage. As well as showing promising results for plant-based baked goods recipe development, the use of faba bean ingredients can also result in on-pack nutritional claims in the context of protein content, if the conditions of use are fulfilled.

Image: Shutterstock – BENEO Plant-based muffins

Manifold advantages

The versatility of faba bean ingredients benefits both manufacturers and consumers. In fact, global product launches with faba bean ingredients almost doubled between 2017 and 2022.[i] Having a mild taste, these ingredients show clear benefits when it comes to the flavour profile of end products. As a vegetal protein, BENEO’s faba bean protein concentrate can replace animal protein (milk, egg) as well as soy protein in certain applications. It also has an excellent amino acid profile as well as a high solubility and very good emulsifying properties. In addition, faba bean starch-rich flour, being naturally high in protein, can help to boost the protein content in applications such as cereal bars, snacks, or baked goods.

Faba beans also offer benefits in terms of sustainability because they help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at farm level. The faba beans can capture nitrogen from the air, to provide it for themselves and subsequent plants, which reduces the need for fertiliser input. BENEO strives to source its faba beans at Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) Gold level from German farmers with long-term contracts, to ensure production and supply stability.

Mintel GNPD, global search for fava bean flour and proteins in the categories: snacks, bakery, breakfast cereals, dairy and meat substitutes, date of search: 28/4/2023. While only one percent of sweet bakery goods had a vegan claim in 2016, by 2021,13% were making this claim. This data demonstrates that with consumers increasingly wanting plant-based bakery, the industry is beginning to meet their needs.

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