Food firms evaluating B.C. soy ingredient

A new soy protein product isolated by a Vancouver research and development firm has a number of major food, beverage and nutrition companies evaluating its possible use.

Burcon NutraScience reported Wednesday that it’s signed material transfer and non-disclosure agreements with a number of globally recognized food, beverage and nutritional product companies which are now evaluating the product, called Clarisoy.

According to Burcon, Clarisoy is “100 per cent soluble” and “completely” transparent in acidic solutions, which would make it useful in ready-to-drink beverages ranging down to pH 2.5 and lower.

That level of solubility and transparency allow for its use “in a wide variety of beverages where traditional soy isolates are not appropriate,” the company said.

As well, Burcon said, the soy protein is heat-stable, allowing its use in hot-fill applications while also eliminating the usual “beany” taste of soy products, allowing for flavours of beverages to come through much more cleanly.

Thus Burcon sees promise in the product’s use in beverage and food applications such as nutritional, sports and energy drinks, juices and waters.

Clarisoy is expected to be “price-competitive with existing proteins,” Burcon said. It should also be of “particular interest to food and beverage manufacturers seeking an alternative to high dairy protein prices.”

The company last fall “self-affirmed” that its two other new isolates, canola proteins Puratein and Supertein, will meet “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) food safety standards in the U.S., and thus has applied for approval from that country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

When it first announced the development of Clarisoy last fall, Burcon said it aims to promote plant proteins as an “inexpensive and environmentally sound source of functional and nutritious food ingredients,” beyond their use as an “indirect” protein source in food and livestock feed.

“Today, plant proteins can be grown, isolated and purified, converting them to high-value food ingredients for human consumption at a fraction of the environmental and economic cost of animal proteins,” the company said.

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